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UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 5 | May 3, 2007

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in April 2007

Compiled by Basil Waugh

Moral Judgment on ‘Sin Stocks’ Means Higher Returns for Vice-Friendly Investors

Several North American media outlets, including Reuters, CBC NewsWorld and the Vancouver Sun, reported on a UBC study that looked at the profitability of so-called “sin stocks.”

UBC Sauder School of Business Prof. Marcin Kacperczyk, co-author of the study The Price of Sin: The Effects of Social Norms on Markets, said investing in alcohol, tobacco and gambling stocks yields returns two to four per cent higher per year on average than comparable stocks.

“Our analysis associates social norms with significant price effects,” said Kacperczyk. “While sinful stocks aren’t necessarily good for the soul, they are under-priced and outperform comparable stocks.”

More Women Surviving Heart Surgery

CNN, Reuters and Scientific American reported on a UBC study that found a significant decline in the number of women dying after coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG).

Despite the drop, UBC cardiologist Dr. Karin Humphries found that women still remain at higher risk of early death after CABG than men, due in part to the smaller size of their coronary arteries.

Humphries and her colleagues evaluated gender differences and trends in 30-day mortality after CABG in all adults who had the procedure between 1991 and 2004 in B.C. The team’s findings were published in the April edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Discovery Enables Scientists To Convert Blood Types

UBC blood expert Dr. Stephen Withers appeared in international coverage of a Danish discovery that potentially enables blood from groups A, B and AB to be converted into group O.

In a companion piece to the study in the journal Nature Biotechnology, Withers wrote: “The method may enable manufacture of universal red cells, which would substantially reduce pressure on the blood supply.”

The BBC and a number of U.S. papers, including the L.A. Times, cited Withers’ analysis.

Student-designed Robotic Baristas Squirt Coffee into Waiting Mouths

Robots created by UBC Engineering students served coffee samples in an unconventional manner outside a campus Starbucks in April.

Instead of serving drinks in sample-sized paper cups, the robots sprayed iced coffee directly into people’s mouths. The event, covered by television crews from CBC, Channel M and Fairchild TV, showcased the final projects of UBC’s second-year Integrated Engineering class.

“We challenged students to create an environmentally friendly, paperless way of serving coffee samples,” said Leo Stocco, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “If you like cream in your coffee, the robots will do that too.”

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Last reviewed 02-May-2007

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