UBC Reports | Vol. 52 | No. 6 | Jun. 1, 2006
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in May 2006
Compiled by Basil Waugh
UBC Students Decode Essence of Cool
According to research by two UBC graduate students, kindness is the new cool.
More than a dozen North American media outlets, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, United Press International, CanWest News Service, Canadian Press, Global National News, National Post and the Globe and Mail, reported findings by Ilan Dar-Nimrod and Ian Hansen of the UBC Dept. of Psychology that suggest qualities such as friendliness, egalitarianism, fairness, honesty, passion, and even niceness are considered cool according to the prevailing tastes.
“Parents will be relieved to know that the popular understanding of cool suggests a Hallmark greeting card more than a gangster orgy,” said Hansen.
The study presented 800 people with a list of 90 personality characteristics -- such as wealthy, friendly and good-looking -- and asked them to rate them on a scale of one to seven. About 60 per cent of respondents in the study said classically socially-desirable traits were “cool,” while 15 per cent said “cool” was mysterious, tough, aloof and dangerous.
“We went looking for Marlon Brando and ended up with Gene Kelly,” said Dar-Nimrod.
According to the team’s findings, some of the cooler celebrities today would be actor Johnny Depp, a family man with an attitude, and Bono, a rocker who cares for his community.
HIV/AIDS Conference Targets Needs of First Nations in North America
According to Elizabeth Saewyc, UBC School of Nursing Assoc. Prof. and keynote speaker at North American First Nations’ first national conference on HIV/AIDS, more research is needed on how the disease is affecting native communities, native treatment models, and the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS medication on native peoples.
Saewyc’s comments at the Native Peoples of North America HIV/AIDS conference were reported by Associated Press, Canadian Press, Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC, CBS, and the CBC.
“This is where native people can and should take the lead,” said Saewyc. “Our very survival depends on developing strategies and working together on HIV.”
Participants of the May 2-6 conference included physicians, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, and Aboriginal leaders from over 600 First Nations communities from more than 40 states, Canada and New Zealand.
UBC-led Project Maps Farthest Reaches of the Known Universe
A Canadian-led group of scientists has created the biggest ever representation of the heavens -- a map that depicts a million galaxies, the farthest ones five billion light years from Earth, report the U.K.’s New Scientist, CanWest News Service, National Post, and the Vancouver Sun.
The team, led by UBC astrophysicist Chris Blake, has charted much of the known cosmos with supercomputers and complex data sets that yield a three-dimensional positioning of the stars.
“It’s not the sort of thing you could print on a piece of paper -- but it’s exactly the same idea,” says Blake, the Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in Astronomy and Astrophysics at UBC. “We’re trying to show the parameters of the universe, trying to measure what’s out there and our place in it.”
UBC Receives Gifts for Mining Engineering and Student Residence
National and B.C. media covered two major donations to UBC -- one from one of Canada’s largest mining companies and the other from a Hong Kong philanthropist.
The Canadian Press, the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, and the Vancouver Province reported on the $7.5-million boost to UBC’s Mining Engineering program from a group led by Vancouver-based Teck Cominco Ltd. The gift will be used to create the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering (named after the company’s former president and CEO), recruit faculty, and increase the number of students in the program.
The Globe and Mail, Channel M, Fairchild TV, and the Vancouver Sun reported on the $4-million gift by shipping and real estate magnate Simon Lee to create a student residence and cultural centre. To be completed by 2008, the Simon K.Y. Lee University of Hong Kong-UBC House will house 100 students from the University of Hong Kong and an equal number from UBC.