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UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 10 | Oct. 2, 2008

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in September 2008

Compiled by Basil Waugh

UBC Political Scientists Comment on Canadian Election

UBC political science professors have featured prominently in federal election media, including The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, CTV News and the CanWest News chain.

In a New York Times interview, Prof. Fred Cutler said the U.S. election will have little impact on Canadian voters. “This talk of Obama energizing American voters and the contrast with ‘boring Canada’ is simply off the mark.”

Prof. Allen Tupper’s commentary ranged from Green MP Blair Wilson’s re-election chances, to TV debate rules to David Emerson. “He was a minister who became wellrespected for his policy and administrative capacities, of which there is not a surplus in the Harper government.”

Profs. Kathryn Harrison and Philip Resnick also joined in the debate, both speaking on B.C. politics and environment issues. “It’s promising to be the first time the environment has ever played a prominent role in a national election,” Harrison said.

UBC Election Stock Market Opens for Trading

Media reported on the return of UBC’s Election Stock Market (UBC-ESM), an online, real-time market where investors purchase and trade “shares” representing the political parties they believe will win the election.

In a CTV interview, Sauder School of Business Prof. Werner Antweiler said the non-profit initiative is a better predictor of an election outcome than polling. “Investing their own real money provides motivation to traders to predict the political parties’ fortunes.”

Past UBC-ESMs have provided accurate predictions of final vote and seat shares, including predictions within a few seats of the 2006, 2000 and 1997 federal elections.

Training Young Brains to Behave

The New York Times reported on research by a UBC developmental cognitive scientist who says mental exercises can teach children to become more self-possessed at earlier ages, reducing stress levels at home and improving their experience in school.

Prof. Adele Diamond is researching three “executive functions”: the ability to resist distractions or delay gratification to finish a job, working memory and cognitive flexibility, the presence of mind to adapt when demands change.

“Some people will ask, ‘Why are you trying to improve prefrontal abilities when the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until the 20s?’” said Diamond. “I tell them that 2-yearolds have legs, too, which will not reach full length for 10 years or more – but they can still walk and run and benefit from exercise.”

Housing Prices in Most Canadian Markets are Overpriced and Likely to Decline: UBC Study

Homeowners in most Canadian urban centres should be prepared for the possibility of housing market price declines, according to a UBC Sauder School of Business study.

Prof. Tsur Somerville found that, with the exception of Toronto and Edmonton, houses in Canada’s major cities are overvalued, priced up to 25 per cent higher than they should be to balance with rents.

“The decade long boom in Canadian markets is over,” said Somerville. His study was covered by news media across Canada.

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Last reviewed 01-Oct-2008

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