In the News

UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 7 |
Jul. 7, 2005

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in June 2005

Compiled by Ai Lin Choo

Drink Milk and Lose Weight?

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is challenging the scientific validity of the claim that dairy products help one lose weight — as seen on TV and print ad promotions from the milk industry and sellers of yogurt and cheese.

Susan Barr, a UBC professor of nutrition, told The New York Times that it’s still unclear whether milk or other dairy products do in fact help individuals lose weight.

“More studies need to be done to try and confirm this.”

Bacteria Photosynthesize Without Sunlight

UBC’s Prof. J. Thomas Beatty and his colleagues have found a photosynthetic bacterium that doesn’t live off the light of the sun. It instead uses the dim light given off by hydrothermal vents some 2,400 metres below the ocean’s surface.

The research team first encountered the bacterium, GSB1, in samples collected from a vent field located off the coast of Mexico, reports Scientific American.

DNA analysis identified the organism as a member of the green sulphur bacteria family that relies solely on photosynthesis to survive. Scientists say the results are startling as it allows them to consider other places where one might find photosynthesis on Earth, as well as other planets.

Ballooning to the Stars

The adventure portion of the mission known as the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimetre Telescope (BLAST) is now over, and if the science part of the experiment goes as well as the first, scientists expect to provide answers to a major cosmological mystery, reports The Toronto Star.

“We’re basically looking at dirt. It seems quite unglamorous. It’s like snow and ice and carbonaceous stuff all mixed together into very fine grains, smaller than anything you’d get in a snowstorm,” says team member Mark Halpern, a UBC astronomy professor.

BLAST, a Canada-U.S. telescope, cruised all the way over from Sweden in just four days this past month,
carried 40 kilometres high by a 33-storey balloon.

Pedophile-Tracker was Inappropriate

Brad Willman, a self-described computer geek, spent four years tracking down pedophiles by hacking into peoples computers from his parents’ home in Langley.

Willman was ultimately reponsible for the arrests of about 40 pedophiles across Canada and the United States, but some think Wilman himself should be punished.

“The way the information was collected is not appropriate,” Prof. Hasan Cavusoglu from the Sauder School of Business told Maclean’s Magazine. “It may challenge the foundation of many institutions we all rely on if everybody starts to do what they deem to be right. We should all abide by the laws.”