We could face challenges moving ahead with Paris deal

News 1130 Mon Dec 14 2015 By: Martin MacMahon

Canada faces great challenges in fulfilling its commitments in the Paris climate treaty, according to UBC political science professor Kathryn Harrison.

“We have an extremely greenhouse-gas intensive economy,” Harrison told News 1130. “If we’re going to phase out our reliance on fossil fuels over say five decades, we’re one of the countries in the world that has the farthest to go.”

Confirmed: Being generous is good for your body, not just your mind

Quartz Mon Dec 14 2015 By: Ashley Whillans

In an article for Quartz, UBC PhD student Ashley Whillans described an experiment she performed to find out if spending money on other people could lower blood pressure.

“Among participants who were previously diagnosed with high blood pressure…spending money on others significantly reduced their blood pressure over the course of the study,” Whillans wrote. “Critically, the magnitude of these effects was comparable to the benefits of interventions such as anti-hypertensive medication and exercise.”

Here’s why they don’t implement basic income

The Globe and Mail Sat Dec 12 2015 By: Kevin Milligan

Guaranteed annual income schemes as currently proposed in countries like Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland would be impractical and expensive, said UBC economics professor Kevin Milligan in a Globe and Mail op-ed.

Rather than a universal basic income, Milligan said Canada could “provide a modest, targeted transfer that is means-tested through a gradual phase-out as income rises. This way, those who find work don’t immediately lose all their benefits, and so we can balance the desire to help with efficient work incentives. We also can target the benefits where they will do the most good, instead of including high earners in the plan.”

As hateful rhetoric returns, we’ve forgotten the lessons of 9/11

The Globe and Mail Thu Dec 10 2015 By: Peter Klein

Journalism professor Peter Klein, director of the Global Reporting Centre at UBC, drew parallels between recent anti-immigrant rhetoric in the U.S. and the hysteria that swept North America right after the 9/11 attacks. In an op-ed for the Globe and Mail, he highlighted the unlawful detention of Benamar Benatta, an Arab immigrant who was labelled a terrorist and spent five years in custody.

6 tips you need to know about live-tweeting

Tech in Asia Fri Dec 11 2015 By: Lotus Ruan

UBC master’s student Lotus Ruan shared tips on live tweeting in an article for Tech in Asia. Her suggestions included setting clear goals, making adequate preparations, reaching out to influencers in the relevant field, and sustaining audience engagement after the event.

What Canadians believe next year will hold

Maclean's Thu Dec 10 2015

Maclean’s invited well-known Canadians to share forecasts and hopes for 2016.

UBC creative writing professor Maureen Medved’s contribution: “As humans with the capacity for rational thought, we have a moral obligation to wake ourselves up and to attend to the condition of all peoples and other life forms with compassion, humility, understanding and responsibility.”

What’s your dog trying to tell you? Clues from bark research

Maclean's Wed Dec 9 2015 By: Jason Kirby

UBC psychologist Stanley Coren is quoted in a Washington Post article (which also ran on MSN) on the meaning of different types of dog bark.

Coren has compiled a barking glossary, which includes barks that indicate loneliness, barks that call attention to something specific, and barks that invite play.

The most important charts for the Canadian economy in 2016

Maclean's Wed Dec 9 2015 By: Jason Kirby

A Maclean’s article on the most important factors affecting Canada’s economy includes comments from UBC economist Kevin Milligan.

Milligan observed that government is playing a reduced role in the economy has shrunk, saying “the fact is that government’s share of economic output has shrunk over the last 20 years.”

China’s artists are making waves, and getting away with it

Maclean's Wed Dec 9 2015 By: Charlie Gillis

Maclean’s ran a story on how contemporary Chinese artists are using humour and mockery to express ideas that would otherwise never have a voice.

The article quotes Gu Xiong, an artist who fled to Canada after the Tiananmen Square crackdown and is now a professor at UBC.

Gu was quoted as saying: “Since about 2005, things have been much looser, which gives a sense of possibility within Chinese society.”

What exactly are negative interest rates anyway?

Maclean's Wed Dec 9 2015 By: Chris Sorensen

UBC economist Paul Beaudry was featured in a Maclean’s Q&A on what impact negative interest rates would have on Canadians. Banks would tend to charge consumer less interest on loans, Beaudry said. He also believed rates could go down to minus 0.3 per cent “or even minus 0.5 per cent.”

How Liberals gauged response to high-income tax hike

The Globe and Mail Wed Dec 9 2015 By: Bill Curry, Daniel LeBlanc

UBC economist Kevin Milligan, who was a member of the Liberal economic advisory team, is quoted in a Globe and Mail analysis of the federal tax plan and revised deficit projections.

“These new estimates by Finance, to my eye, look quite cautious and [are] building in enough room for a potential positive upside,” Milligan said. “They may be making a judgment that it’s better to take a small political hit now and look good three years from now, [rather] than the alternative.”

Opinion: Climate justice, Canada and COP21

The Vancouver Sun Tue Dec 8 2015 By: David Tindall

Issues around climate justice should be explored and resolved in order to reach a successful agreement on climate change, wrote UBC sociology professor David Tindall in an op-ed for the Vancouver Sun.

Tindall said climate justice involves addressing income, age and gender inequality issues as well as North-South and Aboriginal vs. non-Aboriginal conflicts.

“At COP21 in Paris, resolving climate justice is not just a moral-philosophical parlour game,” said Tindall. “It is central to whether or not an effective agreement emerges.”

Liberal tax changes to cost federal treasury $1.2-billion per year

The Globe and Mail Mon Dec 7 2015 By: Bill Curry

UBC economist and tax expert Kevin Milligan was quoted in a Globe and Mail article on the cost of the government’s proposed tax changes.

Milligan, a member of the Liberal economic advisory team, has said in the past that the party’s $2.8-billion projected revenue from tax hikes was a reasonable estimate if backed by “strong administrative efforts and an effective tax-expenditure review.”

The Heat: Arctic natural resource race

CCTV America Mon Dec 7 2015 By: Nathan King

UBC global politics professor Michael Byers joined CCTV America’s The Heat to talk about competing interests in the Arctic. According to Byers, the region is the most expensive place in the world to operate and that explains why Russia, the United States and Canada are willing to cooperate there.

“They cannot afford to have conflict in the Arctic, especially not Russia, with its economy in such serious trouble,” Byers said. He believes that “Russia is playing by the rules” in the Arctic.

North Korea agrees regular visits by the South’s Catholic priests

BBC Tue Dec 8 2015

UBC Korean history professor Donald Baker explains on BBC how North Korean Catholics practice their religion. A Catholic “Mass” in Pyongyang is not conducted by a priest but by a lay person. Baker said attempts to convert others aren’t allowed, but Christians who are willing to work within a government-authorized organisation and to practice within the larger North Korean framework are acceptable, because they show to the world that North Korea allows religious freedom.