Gay couples feel pressure to marry and conform

CBC News Wed Jan 27 2016

UBC research shows that people in same-sex common-law relationships are feeling the pressure to marry, reports CBC News.

The researchers looked at whether having been given the right to marry in 2005 affected the way same-sex couples see their relationship.

“It was surprising how prominent marriage became in participants’ lives,” said co-author Katherine Lyon.

Similar stories appeared in Vancouver 24 Hours and Vancity Buzz.

Liberals criticized for not reviewing foreign takeovers

The Globe and Mail Wed Jan 27 2016 By: Steven Chase

UBC political science professor Michael Byers was quoted in a Globe and Mail article on the security concerns raised by two recent significant corporate takeovers by American companies.

Commenting on the sales, Byers said: “Com Dev builds parts for Canadian military satellites. Allstream carries government telecommunication traffic. Either [the Liberals] are consciously choosing not to have a rigorous assessment, in which case they are being pretty cavalier about Canadian national security, or they got caught unprepared, poorly advised and not yet in position to make good decisions.”

National Energy Board doing ‘inadequate’ job of tracking

Financial Post Tue Jan 26 2016 By: Geoffrey Morgan

Federal environment commissioner Julie Gelfand has criticized the National Energy Board (NEB) for failing to track whether pipeline companies meet conditions for project approvals, the Financial Post reported Tuesday.

The article quoted UBC political science professor Kathryn Harrison, who said the pipeline and NEB debates are highlighting regional divisions on energy issues.

“There’s now much more controversy concerning pipelines, and the concerns about the pipelines have led people to look more closely than they had previously at the NEB process,” said Harrison.

The Vancouver Sun also ran the story.

Trudeau’s pledge to keep debt declining at risk

Financial Post Wed Jan 27 2016 By: Josh Wingrove, Ari Altstedter

Plunging oil prices and the worsening economy have put Justin Trudeau’s promise to reduce Canada’s debt in jeopardy, according to the Financial Post.

These conditions increase the deficit while lowering GDP forecasts, said UBC economics professor Kevin Milligan.

“There’s not a lot of playroom for the finance minister and the government to figure this out, to stay underneath their commitment of declining debt-to-GDP,” said Milligan.

One-on-one with Mohamed Fahmy

Global News Mon Jan 25 2016 By: Jon Azpiri, Justin McElroy

Egyptian-born Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy was interviewed by Global News.

Fahmy was arrested and imprisoned in Egypt while working for broadcaster Al Jazeera English. Since his release he has taken up an academic life as an adjunct professor at UBC.

The truth about Flint Sat Jan 23 2016 By: Paul Rosenberg

Salon article analyzed the events that lead to the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water supply, and linked it to a “state-level attack on democracy.”

UBC geography professor Jamie Peck’s thoughts on neoliberalism were quoted in the article.

6 things to know about charitable giving this tax season

Forbes Mon Jan 25 2016 By: Tom Anderson

Forbes article on donating to charity featured a UBC-Harvard study that found a positive link between charitable giving and happiness.

The researchers–UBC professor Elizabeth Dunn and her former PhD student Lara Aknin, and Harvard’s Michael Norton–found this correlation in 120 out of 136 countries included in their study.

Theatre UBC’s Eurydice throws contemporary light on ancient myth

Georgia Straight Wed Jan 20 2016

Theatre UBC’s Eurydice departs slightly from its mythical roots and focuses more on a woman’s ambiguity about leaving Hades, reports Georgia Straight.

The show runs through Feb. 6.

It’s all about the economy as Parliament returns

Ottawa Citizen Fri Jan 22 2016 By: Jason Fekete

UBC economist and former Liberal adviser Kevin Milligan was quoted in an Ottawa Citizen article on Parliament’s economic agenda.

Milligan doesn’t believe a wide-scale stimulus program is needed and said: “We’re in a period of slow growth, a period of zero growth, and that’s not great, but you can certainly imagine worse situations.”

The article also appeared in the Montreal Gazette and The Province.

Public divided over ‘comfort women’ agreement

East Asia Forum Fri Jan 22 2016 By: Trevor Kennedy, Misato Nagakawa

The new deal meant to conclude the “comfort women” dispute between Japan and South Korea lacks popular support in South Korea, says Trevor Kennedy, a Master of Arts Asia Pacific Policy Studies candidate at UBC, in an East Asia Forum op-ed.

“Japan and South Korea cannot do much to appease those taking an emotional or political stance, but they can and should focus on explaining the merits of the agreement to groups genuinely interested in reaching a conclusion,” wrote Kennedy and co-author Misato Nagakawa.

Flashing lights and sounds turn rats into gamblers

Discover Fri Jan 22 2016 By: Nathaniel Scharping

A UBC experiment that shows that flashing lights and music encourages risky choices among rats sheds light on why people get addicted to gambling, reports Discover Magazine.

A similar story appeared on Yahoo.

Re-awakening language

BBC World Service Tue Jan 26 2016

UBC anthropologist Mark Turin spoke about the work being done to preserve dying or hibernating minority languages in a BBC World Service interview.

Turin, whose work focuses on the Himalayan region in Nepal, said languages don’t become endangered naturally; instead, it’s due to a combination of political, cultural and social processes. People in marginalised communities might be repeatedly told that their indigenous language is “backward” or not practical and this belief is absorbed and starts a vicious cycle.

“We have to break out of the sense that one language….is suitable for all purposes at all time,” said Turin.

Com Dev passes last major hurdle for sale

The Globe and Mail Thu Jan 21 2016 By: Richard Blackwell

With shareholders approving the sale Thursday, the sale of Canadian satellite equipment maker Com Dev International to U.S. tech giant Honeywell appears to be a done deal, reports the Globe and Mail.

UBC political scientist Michael Byers said the sale is a “potentially significant loss to Canada.” Future Canadian satellites might have to be built from parts sourced from non-Canadian companies, and this could be a potential national security concern, Byers said.

This rat casino shows us why we love to gamble

Vice (CA) Thu Jan 21 2016 By: Jake Kivanc

A UBC study involving a “rat casino” shows that bright lights and sounds encourage risky choices, reports Vice.

The researchers tested 32 rats, offering small rewards for low risks. When exposed to bright lights and music, the rats began to opt for the higher risk, higher reward options.

“Translating these findings to humans, we think that people who are more attracted to these kinds of sound and light cues, and more influenced by them, may be more likely to make risky/bad choices in gambling games, and potentially become addicted to gambling,” said researcher Catharine Winstanley.

Similar stories appeared in Tech Times, CBC News, and other publications.

Faculty diversity: A quarter-century hiring report card

University Affairs Thu Jan 21 2016 By: Brian McIlroy

UBC film studies professor Brian McIlroy reviews the last 25 years of hiring in academia in an op-ed for University Affairs. He notes that much progress still needs to be made, although there have been incremental gains made.

His own department at UBC has achieved gender parity but only one faculty member belongs to a visible minority and no one has identified as having a major disability, said McIlroy. “[W]e in the arts…have failed to make progress on issues relating to diversity in the round.”