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UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 10 | Oct. 4, 2007

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in September 2007

Compiled by Basil Waugh

God Thoughts Influence Your Generosity: UBC Study

A UBC study has found that thoughts related to God produce cooperative behavior and generosity in people – even if they aren’t religious.

In research published in the journal Psychological Science, Prof. Ara Norenzayan and PhD graduate Azim Shariff from UBC’s Dept. of Psychology found that playing word games with religious words increased altruism.

“It’s like a supernatural policing agent,” said Shariff. “The reminder that there is an idea of a God enforces this idea of moral behavior.”

United Press International, Reuters, CanWest News, CTV and the Vancouver Sun reported on Norenzayan’s and Shariff’s findings.

Space Weapons and Junk Threaten Life on Earth

Human security and technologies are more at risk than ever from anti-satellite weapons and space junk, according to the fourth annual report on space security.

Released by UBC’s Simons Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Research, the report will be presented to the United Nations First Committee on international security on Oct. 22.

International news media including Agence France Presse, Taipei Times and the Melbourne Herald Sun covered the report, entitled Space Security 200

UBC to Use Text Messages to Issue Emergency Alerts

This September, UBC students were asked to volunteer their cell phone numbers to help authorities set up an emergency text-message warning system.

David Rankin, UBC Assoc. Vice President of Business Operations, said security officials have been studying ways to instruct students on how to leave campus since the Virginia Tech killings earlier this year.

The emergency system is expected to be operational by the end of the year, reported the Canadian Press, CanWest News, National Post, Maclean’s and CTV.

Plant Sensor Could Tell When Your Tomatoes are Singing the Blues

Land and Food Systems PhD student Saber Miresmailli has discovered a new way to fight pests in vegetable crops, reported the National Post and the Vancouver Sun.

As first described in UBC Reports, Miresmailli is building a database of the types of chemicals that tomato, cucumber and pepper plants release when they are in distress.

Once the database is complete, he plans to build a device that can sniff out a plant’s chemical warning signals using the same basic technology as airport bomb-sniffing machines.

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Last reviewed 03-Oct-2007

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