In the news

Highlights of UBC media coverage in November 2011

UBC research

Healing invisible scars

For Remembrance Day, Global, CTV, CBC, the Vancouver Sun, the Times Colonist and Metro reported on UBC’s Veterans’ Transition Program—a program where soldiers help soldiers cope with stress-related injuries and integrate themselves back into civilian life.

“Only a soldier can tell another soldier that they acted in a right way that’s restorative to them,” said Marvin Westwood, co-founder of the Veterans’ Transition Program’s and a professor in the Faculty of Education at UBC.

Socialbots ‘steal’ Facebook data

Researchers from UBC used ‘socialbots’, computer programs that mimic real Facebook profiles, to extract vast quantities of personal information from Facebook users, reported the BBC, Forbes, the New Scientist, CBC and others.

Kosta Beznosov, Yazan Boshmaf, Ildar Muslukhov and Matei Ripeanu used 102 socialbots over a period of eight weeks
and were able to ‘steal’ 46,500 email addresses and 14,500 home addresses.

“To an adversary, such data is valuable and can be used for online profiling and large-scale email spam and phishing
campaigns,” wrote the researchers in their paper.

UBC experts comment

British Columbia’s municipal vote

UBC political scientists provided expert commentary about British Columbia’s municipal elections for the Globe and
Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Times Colonist and others. Max Cameron, Richard Johnston and Michael Byers commented on major election issues, including the Occupy Vancouver movement, voter engagement and voter turnout.

The Occupy tent settlement gave Vancouver’s Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton an
issue to work with as she tried to deny a second term to Mayor Gregor Robertson, Vision Vancouver’s candidate, said Johnston to the Vancouver Sun.

Infectious salmon virus suspected in B.C.

The detection of what could be an infectious salmon anemia, a lethal virus, in wild sockeye salmon in British Columbia has reinvigorated a long-running debate about the sustainability of the aquaculture industry. “Is it a game changer? It would be a game changer if it was sourced to aquaculture,” said Tony Farrell, a professor in UBC’s Department of Zoology to the Canadian Press.

Some experts advocate a total ban on salmon farming. “Aquaculture of carnivores is hopeless and extremely wasteful,” said Daniel Pauly, a fisheries biologist at UBC, to the New York Times.

Experts advise on managing climate change aid

As the world prepares to unleash $100-billion-a-year of climate change aid on the developing world, three academics at UBC have set the table for a rational discussion about how to spend the money, reported Agence France Presse, CBC, the Vancouver Sun and others.

In an article published in Science, UBC researchers Simon Donner, Milind Kandlikar and Hisham Zerriffi recommend measures for managing the funds and avoiding problems common among aid programs.

“The international aid system is fraught with problems, and by adding another $100 billion a year to it, basically doubling it, we could end up worsening a lot of problems,” said Donner.

Campus news

CIRS Opens

CBC, Canadian Architect, Ming Pao and Sing Tao reported on the official opening of the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), the most sustainable building in North America. CIRS is a “living lab” in which researchers can conduct interactive research on and assessment of current and future building systems and technologies.