The key to a happy life? Do more, spend less

Daily Mail Thu Jan 7 2016 By: Colin Fernandez

A Daily Mail article featured a new study by UBC researcher Ashley Whillans, which found that people who placed greater importance on time over money felt happier.

The finding applied even for people of different income levels and across the sexes.

A similar story appeared on CTV News.

Drought and heat took a heavy toll on crops: study

New York Times Wed Jan 6 2016 By: Nicholas St. Fleur

The New York Times featured a study led by UBC global food security professor Navin Ramankutty, which found that drought and other severe weather events reduced harvests of wheat, maize and other cereals by approximately 10 per cent globally over the past 50 years.

The researchers reviewed 2,800 weather disasters and found that droughts reduced a country’s crop production by 10 pe rcent, and heat waves by 9 per cent. More than three billion tons of cereal production were lost between 1964 and 2007 due to these events.

“[R]ice, wheat and maize alone provide more than 50 percent of global calories,” said Ramankutty. “When these grain baskets are hit, it results in food price shocks, which leads to increasing hunger.”

Similar articles appeared in Vice, Christian Science Monitor and other news media.

BBC celebrates composer and UBC teacher Jean Coulthard

Vancouver Sun Wed Jan 6 2016 By: David Gordon Duke

Jean Coulthard, a Vancouver noted composer and UBC teacher, was the focus of a Vancouver Sun article.

BBC will run five hour-long broadcasts featuring two dozen Coulthard works from Jan. 11—15.

Kaska elder working with UBC researchers on new dictionary

CBC North Mon Jan 4 2016

A UBC team is preparing a dictionary of the Kaska language with help from Yukon elder Mida Donnessy, who’s supplying pronunciation and context for the Kaska words, reports CBC News. Kaska is spoken around Watson Lake and Ross River, Yukon, and in several small communities in northern B.C. The Kaska First Nations and the UBC First Nation Language Program also run a Kaska language website.

Step away from your inbox

MSN Wed Jan 6 2016

A new MSN article describes a U.K. study which found that it’s not just the amount of emails that causes stress; it’s also how people manage their email.

The article mentions earlier UBC research, which found that people felt less stress when they checked their emails less often.

Chinese Culture Talks on Opera Warriors held in Vancouver

China Daily Thu Jan 7 2016

China Daily featured a talk by UBC professor Liu Siyuan on Chinese opera at Vancouver’s Aberdeen Centre Mall Jan. 2.

Liu gave the presentation ahead of the opening of Opera Warriors, a Chinese opera production, in Vancouver on Jan. 5-6.

Cereal harvests across the world ‘fall by 10% in 50 years’

The Independent Wed Jan 6 2016 By: Steve Connor

A UBC study has found that extreme weather events including droughts and heatwaves have reduced cereal harvests by around 10 per cent on average globally over the past five decades.

The effect is becoming more severe in developed countries, where crops and farming methods are uniform across huge areas, and so severe weather tends to affect all the crops in a similar way. In the developing world, there is more crop diversity and fields are smaller, so if a drought hits, some of the crops survive, the researchers said.

“We have always known that extreme weather causes crop production losses,” said senior author and UBC global food security professor Navin Ramankutty. “But until now we did not know exactly how much global production was lost to such extreme weather events, and how they varied by different regions of the world.”

The study was reported in numerous media outlets including Independent UK, Daily Mail, United Press International, ReutersNewsweek, Globe and Mail, Mother Jones, Yahoo UKCBC News, CTV News, City News, National ObserverVancouver Sun, News 1130, and Times Colonist.

Opera Warriors Canadian premiere combines modern dance and martial arts

CBC Vancouver Tue Jan 5 2016

A UBC film and theatre professor comments on Opera Warriors, a new show created by the team responsible for the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, in a CBC Vancouver story. The show made its Canadian debut in Vancouver this week.

“You have those people that are performing authentic Beijing opera movements — the jumps, and the gestures — but in a way that people really understand modern dance,” said Prof. Steven Siyuan Liu.

A better ballot on federal government’s agenda

Yahoo News Canada Tue Jan 5 2016 By: Dene Moore

Canadian electoral reform and proportional representation is discussed in a new Yahoo News Canada article.

UBC political scientist Max Cameron said he is in favour of reform.

“Mainly because I think that in a parliamentary system of government in which substantial power can be concentrated in the office of the Prime Minister, it is important to ensure that there is proportionality in the electoral system,” he said.

Resist your inbox if you want to reduce stress, new research suggests

CTV News Tue Jan 5 2016

How we manage emails, particularly turning on push notifications, contributes to stress, according to a new report from the British Psychological Association, CTV News reported.

The story mentions a 2014 study from UBC psychology researchers that found people were less stressed if they didn’t check their emails as much.

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.