From lip dub, to the Stanley Cup riot, to super-fit salmon, UBC students and researchers are offering their unique perspectives and making headlines around the world. For the latest UBC news, subscribe to our electronic news services and follow us on Twitter – Vancouver Campus News, Okanagan Campus News.

The Independent, May 3, 2011

Lip-sync music videos: Pride in the name of dub

ubc lipdub, student

“Lip dub was the coolest thing I’d ever seen,” says Andrew Cohen, who is a geography student at the University of British Colombia (UBC) in Vancouver and also director of the latest lip dub success story simply known as “UBC Lipdub” to hit YouTube this month.

UBC’s video features underwater scenes, aerial footage from a helicopter and a cast of over 1000 people in fancy dress, lip-synching to Pink’s hit “Raise Your Glass”, UBC Lipdub’s student-made production attracted almost half a million views within four days of its release.

Made using almost $40,000-worth of corporate sponsorship from local companies, the video took six months to plan and five hours to film.

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The UBC lip dub phenomenon was also featured in The New York Times and on Yahoo News.

Reuters, May 26, 2011

Brooding men, smiling women seen as sexy?

Women find happy men less sexually attractive than those with expressions that show pride or hint that they have done wrong and know it, according to Canadian researchers.

The study published online Tuesday in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion showed pictures of the opposite sex to both men and women. Participants were then asked for their initial reactions on sexual attractiveness based the expressions they saw.

Men who smile were considered fairly unattractive by women,” said Jessica Tracy, a University of British Columbia psychology professor who directed the study.

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The Telegraph and The Hindustan Times also reported on the study.

The Globe and Mail, June 16 2011

A tale of two riots: the role of social media

The mob mentality phenomenon, which sees people in crowds act in ways they wouldn’t typically act on their own, has a parallel in cyberspace.

“This idea of a lack of accountability has carried over into social media and cyberspace – where people are posting, ‘Hey, I robbed a store,” Prof. Schneider said. “Facebook is a society of 600 million people, and there’s this idea that, ‘Hey, nobody’s going to pay attention to my silly posting’ – but they are.”

Social media may also have played a role in how police responded to Wednesday’s riot, Prof. Schneider said, noting that police would have expected that every move they made would be caught on camera. Early police response may have been muted in part because of a positive experience in the 2010 Olympics as well as memories from 1994, when police were slammed for being too tough on protesters, he said.

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ESPN and The New York Times also published insight from UBC sociologists.

National Geographic, March 31 2011

“Superfish” With Bigger Hearts Better Equipped for Climate Change

British Columbia’s Fraser River hosts more than 100 different sockeye salmon populations, each with its own unique and heroic migration story. But thanks to climate change, its water is becoming warmer, and that could spell doom for some of the fish.

A new study says the salmon that navigate the most arduous routes for their once-in-a-lifetime migration—up to 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) upstream with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet (1,000 meters) against raging whitewater–may be the best suited to cope with warming waters.

Members of a population called Chilko, named for the Chilcotin watershed where their challenging migration occurs, emerged as “what I call my superfish,” said Erika Eliason, a doctoral candidate at University of British Columbia in Vancouver and lead author of the study.

“They migrate in the middle of the summer, when the water temperatures … can get up to 20 or 21 degrees Celsius (68 to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit),” she said. “Then they break left and head up this massive, massive mountain stream to ascend over 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) in elevation. They spawn in a glacial lake in one of the remote parts of British Columbia, grizzly country.”

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United Press International, November 10 2010

Text messages help Kenyan HIV carriers

A study led by a University of British Columbia researcher and published in the U.K. medical journal The Lancet shows that patients in Kenya who received weekly text-message “check-ins” were 12 percent more likely than a control group to have an undetectable level of the human immunodeficiency virus a year after starting antiretroviral treatment or ART.

“ART requires patients to take their medication very consistently to ensure the virus stays dormant and to prevent the person from developing resistance to the drugs,” says lead author Richard Lester, a clinical assistant professor on the UBC Faculty of Medicine.

“But adhering to such a regimen can be particularly difficult in the developing world, where visits to clinics can be arduous and time-consuming, and where civil strife, food shortages, economic hardship and even wars can disrupt people’s lives,” he said.

Lester conceived of the text-message support system in Nairobi, Kenya, while pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship.

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The story also appeared on the CBC and BusinessWeek.

MSN Health, April 20 2011

Newer Versions of the Pill Pose No Added Risk to Gallbladder

The risk of gallbladder disease is similar for women taking either newer or older types of birth control pills, a new study finds.

Reporting bias may be the reason for why gallbladder disease had seemed to be on the rise in women taking birth control pills with drospirenone, suggested Dr. Mahyar Etminan, of the Faculty of Medicine at University of British Columbia, and colleagues.

“The surge in the number of reported cases of gallbladder disease facilitated through the media may have contributed in making drospirenone appear to be associated with a higher risk of gallbladder disease compared with older contraceptives,” the study authors wrote.

“However, the small effect sizes compounded with the possibility of residual biases in this observational study make it unlikely that these differences are clinically significant,” they concluded.

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The story also appeared in The Globe and Mail.

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