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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 8 | Aug. 7, 2003


Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in July 2003

Compiled by Brian Lin

Oldest planet found

A group of U.S. and Canadian astronomers have found the oldest known planet. The huge gaseous object is almost three times as old as Earth and nearly as old as the universe itself.

UBC astronomy professor Harvey Richer told The New York Times it was “tremendously encouraging that planets are probably abundant in globular star clusters.”

“We have been talking about a single planet from a single globular cluster,” said Richer, who is a member of the team that made the discovery. “We ought not to extrapolate from a sample of one, and first look more closely to see if there are planets in other clusters.”

Double-Cohort Paranoia

Thanks to “double-cohort paranoia”, UBC received twice as many applications from Ontario this year, UBC assistant registrar Rosalie Phillips told the Toronto Star.

“The double cohort had kids scared, so on Mom and Dad’s advice they sent out a lot of ‘insurance applications’ in case they didn’t get into any Ontario university,” said Phillips.

As it turns out, 46 per cent of Ontario students did get their first choice within the province, so UBC expects to register only 50 to 75 per cent more than usual.

Still Time to Save Fisheries

In an editorial in the Taipei Times, UBC fisheries professor Daniel Pauly says the decline of global marine catches will be difficult to halt.

“The rapid depletion of fish stocks is the inevitable outcome of sophisticated industrial technology being thrown at dwindling marine populations as demand rises, fueled by growth in human population and incomes,” said Pauly.

“There is still time to save our fisheries, but only if they are reinvented not as the source of an endlessly growing supply of fish for an endlessly growing human population, but as a provider of a healthy complement to grain-based diets.”

Stonehenge Mystery Solved?

UBC researcher Anthony Perks told the UK Observer that he has uncovered Stonehenge’s true meaning: it is a giant fertility symbol, constructed in the shape of the female sexual organ.

“There was a concept in Neolithic times of a great goddess or Earth Mother,” said Perks. “Stonehenge could represent the opening by which the Earth Mother gave birth to the plants and animals on which ancient people so depended.”

Perks’s analysis was published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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