UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 9 | Oct.
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in September 2004
Compiled by Brian Lin
Is Stock Chat all Talk?
In a recently published paper entitled “Is All That
Talk Just Noise?” UBC financial economists Werner Antweiler
and Murray Frank examined the stock message board phenomenon
and found that the characteristics of messages helped predict
volume and volatility, reports The New York Times.
Published in the June 2004 issue of The Journal of Finance,
the paper also shows the number of messages on one day helped
predict returns the next day, even though the degree of predictability
was week and reversed itself the next trading day.
Antweiler and Frank collected more than 1.5 million messages
from two online boards, Yahoo Finance and Raging Bull, and
analyzed them using methods of computational linguistics and
Cherry-Picking Immigrants Discouraged
Many researchers attending the recent United States Federal
Reserve Bank of Kansas City annual conference disagree with
the popular belief that rich countries could ease the strains
of ageing by accepting younger immigrants.
“For the rich countries to cherry-pick skilled international
migrants to finance their own retirement ... seems almost
unbelievably shortsighted and self-serving,” UBC economist
John Helliwell told the Australian Financial Review.
Helliwell said that outsourcing may achieve the same economic
benefits of immigration but with far more social harmony.
It spreads know-how and wealth in the poor country and minimizes
immigration-related strains in the developed country.
Nobel Winner’s Dream Lab Opened
The Michael Smith Laboratories opened at UBC’s Vancouver
campus last month. Smith, a Nobel Prize winner, had recruited
a collection of brilliant young scientists to UBC before his
death in 2000. Now his dream of creating a cross-disciplinary
biomedical centre finally came true.
Brett Finlay, one of Smith’s recruits who has been
doing pioneering work on microbial pathogens, told The Globe
and Mail he rejected a career at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology to join Smith’s team.
“[The concept of creating an interdisciplinary team]
was a brainchild of his . . . that we would mix engineers
with biologists, with botanists. This was long before interdisciplinary
[research] was trendy,” said Finlay.
Terrance Snutch left the California Institute of Technology
to join Smith at UBC. With the new building, “our students
and postdocs can actually get together and brainstorm, that’s
never been there,” said Snutch, who has produced breakthrough
work on calcium channels in the brain.
Wilf Jefferies, who left a leading research institute in
Sweden, said it’s exciting that the new building is
finally ready. “The space is fantastic. It’s a
marvelous building. Mike, I think, would have been proud,”
said Jefferies, who studies how pathogens are broken down
and heads a team that is testing the first curative vaccine
Psychopaths Good at Climbing Corporate Ladder
“Corporate psychopaths” are ruthless, manipulative,
superficially charming and impulsive, UBC psychopathy expert
Robert Hare told CNN.com. And these traits are landing them
high-powered managerial roles.
“Psychopaths are social predators and like all predators
they are looking for feeding grounds,” he said. “Wherever
you get power, prestige and money you will find them.”
Hare estimates that as much as one per cent of the British
and North American population are clinically psychopathic.