Com Dev sale to Honeywell cleared for completion

The Globe and Mail Tue Jan 5 2016 By: Richard Blackwell

The federal government will not review the foreign sale of Com Dev International Ltd., a Canadian satellite equipment maker, to U.S. giant Honeywell International Inc., the Globe and Mail reported.

UBC political scientist Michael Byers is quoted as being “mystified” by the decision. “It seems like the national security review was introduced precisely for a situation like this,” he said.

Justin Trudeau and Canada-China relations

Diplomat Fri Jan 1 2016 By: Hugh Stephens

Canada-China relations are the focus of a new article by the Diplomat.

An op-ed, written by UBC international relations professor Paul Evans that calls for a more collaborative approach between the two countries, is mentioned.

Why being generous could save your life

Daily Mail Wed Dec 30 2015 By: Ashley Whillans

Ashley Whillans, a PhD student in social psychology at UBC, describes the results of an experiment in an article published in the Daily Mail.

Whillans and colleagues found that study participants who spent money on others had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t.

“People seemed to benefit most from spending money on others they felt closest to,” Whillans wrote. However, “financial generosity might not always benefit health. Drawing from research on caregiving, financial generosity might provide benefits only when it does not incur overwhelming personal costs.”

The world’s first ice-busting yachts open the High Arctic

Maclean's Wed Dec 30 2015 By: Chris Sorensen

The first polar-capable super-yachts are starting to open up the Arctic to recreational purposes, according to a new Maclean’s article.

Commenting on the phenomenon, UBC professor of political science and Arctic expert Michael Byers says the super-yacht, SeaXplorer, shares similar capabilities as the Canadian Navy’s planned Arctic offshore patrol ship, or AOPS.

Byers believes Canada should stop investing in AOPS vessels and instead build full-fledged icebreakers for the Coast Guard and specialised navy patrol ships for the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Arctic cooperation in the coming year

Radio Canada Fri Jan 1 2016 By: Levon Sevunts

UBC political science professor Michael Byers reviewed Arctic issues on Radio Canada. Byers thinks cooperation marked most Arctic discussion in the past year especially in areas like shipping pollution, search and rescue, and oil spill cleanups.

“The Arctic is a very remote and very hostile environment where countries cannot accomplish some important things unless they work together,” said Byers, adding that it helps that there is little military tension or conflict in the region.

Troubled waters ahead for shrinking Bridge Glacier

The Globe and Mail Fri Jan 1 2016 By: Pauline Holdsworth

UBC geography professor Dan Moore and former student, Matt Chernos, were featured in a Globe and Mail article on the shrinking Bridge Glacier in southwestern B.C.

Moore and co-researchers developed three models for BC Hydro predicting how the glacier will retreat in the future. The first model forecasts that the glacier will return to equilibrium if climate change stops right now. The two other models assume that the climate continues to warm and the glacier will not stabilize by the end of the century. Moore doubts that the first model will come true.

Government won’t hold referendum on electoral reform

News 1130 Sun Jan 3 2016 By: Amelia John

Max Cameron, director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at UBC, commented on the Liberals’ decision not to hold a referendum on electoral reform.

It’s a smart move to hold consultations instead of a referendum, Cameron said.

“I think the primary reason for not wanting a referendum is because referenda tend to be biased in favour of the ‘no’ side,” said Cameron. “People tend to be conservative in referenda.”

Order of Canada honours for B.C. residents

The Vancouver Sun Fri Jan 1 2016

Six British Columbians were among 69 Canadians appointed to the Order of Canada, reported the Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times Colonist. Nassif Ghoussoub, a professor of mathematics at UBC, was among those honoured. Ghoussoub specializes in the field of non-linear analysis and differential equations.

The best sci-fi and fantasy of the season

CBC Radio Mon Dec 28 2015

Daniel Heath Justice, a fantasy author and a professor of First Nations Studies at UBC, was asked to pick the best new book in his genre for the CBC radio show The Next Chapter.

Justice chose Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements.

No need for a referendum on electoral reform

National Post Thu Dec 29 2015 By: Spencer McKay

Spencer McKay, a PhD student in political science at UBC, believes a referendum on electoral reform is unnecessary and probably ineffective at creating change. However, the Liberals should try to involve as many of the other parties as possible in making reform happen.

“Making fundamental changes to how our democracy works requires evaluating what would best serve Canadian values. Citizens should play a key role in this process, but a referendum is unlikely to produce the thoughtful and spirited public debate that is necessary to making such a change work,” said McKay in a National Post op-ed.

Why we need the next-to-impossible 1.5°C temperature target

The Guardian Wed Dec 30 2015 By: Simon Donner

UBC climatology professor Simon Donner defends the lofty emissions reduction commitment set at the Paris climate talks in an op-ed for The Guardian.

Donner believes agreeing to the ambitious target is a gesture of respect for the countries that will be particularly affected by rising sea levels, such as Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and Kiribati.

“The critics are correct in arguing that the world is unlikely to avoid 1.5°C of warming, or even 2°C of warming,” wrote Donner. “Yet to dismiss the targets entirely is to dismiss the needs of countries that are full members of the international climate negotiations.”

Want to do something good for your health?

Washington Post Fri Jan 1 2016 By: Ashley Whillans

UBC PhD psychology student Ashley Whillans says spending money on others is not only good for your emotional well-being; it can also boost your physical health.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Whillans described an experiment she conducted, which showed that people who donated money recorded lower blood pressure after the act.

However, “financial generosity might provide benefits only when it does not incur overwhelming personal costs,” Whillans added.

B.C. aboriginal graduation rate up but still trails national average

The Globe and Mail Tue Dec 29 2015 By: Canadian Press

UBC professor Linc Kesler was quoted in a Canadian Press article on the increase in aboriginal graduation rate in B.C.–about 54 to 63 per cent over the past six years. The article noted that this graduation rate is still much lower than the 84-per-cent average for the general population in the province.

Kesler predicted that the rate will continue to rise if funding continues to grow for aboriginal students and if the amount of aboriginal content taught in school is expanded.

The story ran in the Globe and MailCTV NewsHuffington PostCity NewsRadio CanadaMaclean’s, Toronto StarCBC BC, Vancouver Sun, Times Colonist, News 1130, Metro, and Castanet.

Want happiness that lasts? Buy stuff

Fox News Mon Dec 28 2015 By: Arden Dier

A new study by UBC researchers Elizabeth Dunn and Aaron Weidman was covered by Fox News, Metro UK and Yahoo Health. Dunn and Weidman found that material purchases–a couch, for example–created longer-lasting satisfaction than purchases of experiences such as concert tickets.

As Weidman put it: “The concert will provide an intense thrill for one spectacular night, but then it will end. In contrast, the new couch will never provide a thrilling moment to match the concert, but will keep the owner snug and comfortable each day throughout the winter months.”

Dunn was also featured in a Vancouver Sun Q&A.

UBC student wins $50,000 grant for eDrink invention

Vancouver Sun Wed Dec 23 2015 By: Tiffany Crawford

Ann Makosinski, an 18-year old UBC student, won a $50,000 grant for her new invention, reports the Vancouver Sun. She won Shell Canada’s 2015 Quest Climate Grant for a coffee mug that charges a smartphone using the heat from the beverage.

“I now have a real opportunity to seek out partners to further the development of my product design and bring my technology to market,” she said.

Similar stories also appeared on Global, CTV, Vancity Buzz and others.