Generosity makes you happier and healthier

Yahoo Wed Dec 2 2015 By: Dene Moore

A Yahoo article reported on a new study by UBC, Simon Fraser University and University of California Irvine researchers, which found that donating to charity lowered blood pressure for a group of older adults.

“This study was really exciting and provided the first initial evidence — we think the strongest evidence to date — that spending money on others, using our money to help other people, could have clinically significant benefits to physical health,” said lead author and UBC PhD student Ashley Whillans.

B.C. as economic destination for Syrian refugees

Business in Vancouver Tue Dec 1 2015 By: Tyler Orton

Business in Vancouver explores the prospects of the 1,900 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in B.C. over the next three months.

The refugees will need English-language training and job skills conversion so that they can land well-paying jobs in the medium term and become financially independent, UBC geography professor Dan Hiebert was quoted as saying.

For their first two years, the refugees will receive financial support from the federal government.

This story also ran in the Vancouver Courier.

Generosity good for health

The Conversation Mon Nov 30 2015 By: Ashley Whillans

Ashley Whillans, a PhD student in social and health psychology at UBC, talks about the effect of generosity on one’s health in an article in The Conversation. According to Whillans, a new experiment she and her colleagues conducted showed that spending money on friends and relatives was linked to a reduction in blood pressure.

“People seemed to benefit most from spending money on others they felt closest to,” Whillans wrote. “This finding is consistent with previous research from our lab showing that people derive the most satisfaction from spending money on others when they splurge on close friends and family.”

Demand for housing data is logical: UBC prof

The Vancouver Sun Tue Dec 1 2015 By: Richard Carpiano

In a guest blog in the Vancouver Sun, UBC sociologist Richard Carpiano calls public demand for housing data “a logical and fundamentally Canadian demand for effective government solutions.”

“[Demanding data] is the initial step in identifying causes and devising appropriate solutions,” Carpiano wrote. “An evidence-based approach to policy offers the best potential for achieving the most effective outcomes and minimizing the chances of unintended consequences.”

Vancouver city council could officially oppose TPP

The Globe and Mail Tue Dec 1 2015 By: Vincent Matak

Vancouver city councillors are considering opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, according to a Globe and Mail article.

The article quoted UBC political science professor Michael Byers, who thought the council’s plan highlights municipalities’ stake in the pact.

“There’s the very real possibility that large cities like Vancouver could pay millions of dollars in arbitration and they have no say in the matter,” said Byers.

Exchange program with China pays off for UBC School of Music

Georgia Straight Mon Nov 30 2015 By: Alexander Varty

The best of the Beijing Central Conservatory’s opera talents are going up onstage with their UBC Opera Ensemble peers on December 2 and 3 at the Chan Centre.

Nancy Hermiston, chair of the UBC School of Music’s voice and opera divisions, talked to Georgia Straight about the growth of opera in China. According to Hermiston, many opera houses are being built across China and opera is one of the country’s fastest-growing art forms. Given the strong reputation of the Beiing conservatory, the exchange program is highly positive for both the UBC and Beijing musicians and for audiences in Canada and China, Hermiston said.

Is Canada behind other countries in the clean energy game?

CKNW Mon Nov 30 2015 By: Anna Kalfa

Canada is lagging other countries in clean energy development and climate change policies, UBC political scientist Kathryn Harrison told CKNW.

“Canada’s been talking a mean game for about 25 years in these international meetings, committing to deep reductions and then not delivering,” said Harrison. “It doesn’t mean we can’t start to make progress…but we’re behind at this point.”

‘Fresh start’ for China-Canada relations

China Daily Fri Nov 27 2015 By: David Hou

UBC political scientist Yves Tiberghien believes closer relations with China could develop with the new Liberal government now in place.

“The Liberal government has not yet decided its core approach to China…but we know that the Trudeau government will fit in the traditional Liberal approach, which is multilateralist in nature and in favour of global engagement,” said Tiberghien, director of the Institute of Asian Research at UBC.

B.C.’s seniors falling prey to predatory scams

The Province Sun Nov 29 2015 By: Nick Eagland

Elder abuse and scams targeting older people is a growing concern as the population ages. Experts say there are a number of ways to prevent this abuse from happening.

UBC social work professor Deborah O’Connor says family can take an older adult for a comprehensive assessment if they’re concerned about their relative’s mental capacity. But she cautioned that concern over their mental capacity should be balanced by a respect for their right to live their lives and make their own decisions.

How Justin Trudeau can handle climate change expectations

Toronto Star Sun Nov 29 2015 By: Joanna Smith

The new Liberal government has vowed to lead Canada into a low-carbon economy, pledging $2-billion for a Low Carbon Economy Trust and promising to devote $125 billion over the next decade to infrastructure investments.

These investments “could result in a major transformation in terms of the Canadian economy and its relationship to climate change,” said Michael Byers, the Canada Research Chair in global politics and international law at UBC.

Canada should re-ratify Kyoto, says Elizabeth May

National Observer Sun Nov 29 2015 By: Mychaylo Prystupa

Green party leader Elizabeth May believes Ottawa should re-ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which committed nations to reduction goals for greenhouse gases and to a carbon trading agreement.

UBC climate policy specialist Kathryn Harrison is more cautious, and says Canadians may not agree to their tax dollars going to purchase credits in a carbon trading system.

“The second issue is that the more we rely on international credits, the less we’re investing in transitioning to cleaner energy at home,” Harrison said.

Happiness is a vague study

National Post Fri Nov 27 2015 By: Robert Fulford

A National Post article discussing the credibility and value of “happiness research” quotes the UN-backed World Happiness Report, co-edited by John F. Helliwell, an emeritus economics professor at UBC. The report studied 106 countries and says that cities are adding happiness to their political-social priorities. Switzerland is the happiest, followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada.

900-year-old ‘Parrot Lady’ statue just a ‘nice knock-off’

CBC News Mon Nov 30 2015 By: Emily Chung

A 900-year-old statue presented by then-prime minister Stephen Harper to his Indian counterpart as a gift is just a knock-off and not a stolen artifact, insists the woman who first bought the statue.

The article mentions an assessment made in 2010 by UBC art history professor Katherine Hacker.

Hacker said at the time that it’s possible that the artwork is not a copy.

“Even though the face is surprisingly intact, the more I looked at the sculpture the less convinced I was of it as a recent copy,” Hacker wrote.

Measuring CO2 and other greenhouse gases

CBC News Mon Nov 30 2015 By: Emily Chung

A CBC News series on climate change issues tackles the difficulties of measuring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Researchers say there are ways to prevent deception in reporting. UBC scientist Andreas Christen measures greenhouse gases from campus, in the City of Vancouver and at a local wetland, and uses the results to compare calculated versus measured emissions.

“Some of the studies we have done in the past show we come relatively close, within 10 per cent,” he said.

Yahoo News also ran this story.

Five ways to give better gifts

Wall Street Journal Mon Nov 30 2015 By: Dana Wechsler Linden

A Wall Street Journal article suggests a few ways to give better gifts, all based on research. The results of a UBC study suggest that when choosing presents for the men they’re dating, women should look for a gift that builds on an area of similarity. As for women, their outlook on the future of a romantic relationship aren’t affected by receiving a “bad” versus “good” gift.