In the news

Highlights of UBC media coverage in January 2012

U BC research

Mapping Dark matter

Scientists from Scotland and Canada have mapped the dark matter in the universe on the largest scale ever observed, reported United Press International, Science News, CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, the Calgary Herald and others.

The team of scientists, which included Ludovic Van Waerbeke of UBC, analyzed images of about 10 million galaxies in
four different regions of the sky. They studied the images for distortion of the light emitted from these galaxies, which
is bent as it passes massive clumps of dark matter on its way to Earth. “It is fascinating to be able to ‘see’ the
dark matter using space-time distortion.” Van Waerbeke said. “It gives us privileged access to this mysterious mass in the Universe which cannot be observed otherwise.”

1 in 10 Canadians cannot afford prescription drugs

One in 10 Canadians struggle to pay for their prescription drugs, even if they have public and/or private insurance, and one in four Canadians who do not have drug insurance cannot afford to take their drugs as directed, according to research from UBC and the University of Toronto that appeared in the Globe and Mail, CBC’s The Current, the Toronto Star, the Medical Daily and others.

“These levels of non-adherence are something to be concerned about,” said Michael Law, an assistant professor at the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research at UBC. “When people don’t take their meds, there are, potentially, higher costs in other parts of the system.”

Wine: Genes, headaches and low-alcohol

Wine expert Hennie van Vuuren, director of the Wine Research Centre at UBC, was featured in Canadian Business Magazine for developing yeast that can make headache-free wine and in a Globe and Mail article about alcohol content
and how it affects the taste of wine. The Australia Life Scientist, the Calgary Herald, and the Vancouver Sun also
featured van Vurren’s latest research project to map the genes of 15 known clones of the Chardonnay grape vine in an effort to identify which ones are best.

UBC experts comment

Keystone and Enbridge pipeline projects

With the Obama administration’s decision to deny a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and the start of the National Energy Board’s formal hearings for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project, UBC experts commented on energy, political,
environmental and Aboriginal issues for CBC’s The National, Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail and others.

George Hoberg, a professor in the Department of Forest Resources Management at UBC, talked to Business News Network about the Harper government’s support for the Enbridge pipeline project and the opposition from aboriginal groups and

“In order to clear legal hurdles, the government is going to have to show that they have both consulted with and accommodated the concerns of the first nations opponents,” said Hoberg. “What’s of concern to them is the environmental risks of a pipeline and tanker spill and the impact that would have on the salmon and other ocean
resources that are so precious to their heritage.”

UBC students

Boycott SOPA app

Two UBC students created a mobile app to help derail SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act Internet censorship bill, reported The Guardian, Forbes, Mashable and others.

The app, called “Boycott SOPA,” makes identifying and boycotting SOPA-supporting companies easy. Users scan any product’s barcode to determine if it was made by a company that officially supports SOPA.

“These companies think they’ll make more money with SOPA than without it,” said Chris Thompson, who created the app with Chris Duranti, both third-year computer-science students at UBC. “If they realize they’re costing themselves more consumers than they’ll gain, they’ll be less inclined to go forward with that support.”