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UBC Reports Jun 7, 2007

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VOLUME   53   I   NUMBER   6   I   JUNE   7,   2007
Whale Has Super-sized Big Gulp
Zoology PhD candidate Jeremy Goldbogen with a minke whale jaw bone from the UBC Cowan Vertebrate Museum.
By Brian Lin
How does the largest animal
on earth survive on a diet of the
smallest of prey? By having a
jaw that spans a quarter of its
body length, an enormous mouth
that goes from the head to the
belly button, and by doing lots
of "lunges," according to UBC
zoology PhD candidate Jeremy
layer that goes from the snout to
the navel. The blubber expands
up to several times its resting
length to allow the whales to
engulf large quantities of prey-
laden water, sort of like filling up
a balloon with water.
"These gigantic animals -
bigger than any of the dinosaurs
- feed almost exclusively on
krill, tiny shrimp-like crustaceans
about 1-2 centimetres long,"
help answer this basic question,
Goldbogen and a team of
scientists from the Scripps
Institution of Oceanography
at the University of California,
San Diego, and Cascadia
Research Collective, a non-profit
organization in Washington, used
digital tags that, when attached
to the whale's back by suction
cups, log how fast it swims and
how deep it dives.
"Fin whales routinely dive to
depths of more than 200 metres
to feed on aggregations of krill,"
says Goldbogen. "Once they get
there, they execute an average of
four 'lunges,' where they quite
literally drop their jaw while
swimming 11 kilometre per hour.
"The mechanics of this unique
behaviour is similar to opening
a parachute at high speed.
The result for the whale is an
Goldbogen combined the tag
data with measurements of jaw
bones from museum specimens
to determine how much water
and prey are engulfed during
lunge-feeding. "Our results
demonstrate that fin whales can
take in about 70 cubic metres
of water in one gulp," says
Goldbogen. "That's bigger than
their own body and roughly the
size of a school bus."
Our results demonstrate that fin whales can take in about 70 cubic metres of water
in one gulp," says Goldbogen. "That's bigger than their own body weight
and roughly the size of a school bus.'
Goldbogen is studying a family
of baleen whales called rorquals
that include the fin, humpback
and blue whales which, at 30
metres long and weighing 150
tons, are the largest animals that
have ever lived.
Rorquals are characterized by
a special, accordion-like blubber
says Goldbogen. "Despite their
majestic stature, we know very
little about their foraging habits,
which is crucial to conservation
Up to now, no one knew just
how much food a fin whale
needed to eat to sustain its
average 20-ton body mass. To
"For the first time, scientists
have a clear picture of these
whales' feeding behaviour
beyond what we see when they
surface," says Goldbogen, who
has spent the last two years
deciphering data from seven fin
whales and nine humpbacks in
the north Pacific Ocean.
increase in water pressure, which
rapidly expands the mouth as
huge volumes of prey-laden
water rush inside."
In collaboration with his
UBC advisor Robert Shadwick
and Nick Pyenson from the
University of California's
Museum of Paleontology,
After the jaws close around
this huge volume of water and
prey, a fin whale must then
expel the water while retaining
the prey. To do this, the whale
uses baleen - a comb-like
structure composed of the
same substance that makes up
human hair and nails - to filter
continued on page 3 2     |     UBC    REPORTS     |    JUNE    7,    2007
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Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in May 2007. compiled by basil waugh
Prof. Daniel Pauly of UBC's Fisheries Centre hopes satellites will be used to help police fishing fleets.
Satellites photos show
environmental destruction by
The New York Times, San
Francisco Chronicle and
International Herald Tribune
reported on a new study that
used satellite images to show the
impact of ocean-bottom trawlers
on the environment.
Daniel Pauly of UBC's
Fisheries Centre said the
"mudtails" seen behind trawlers
do immense harm to ocean
ecosystems. Mud can clog fish
gills, set off algae blooms and,
ultimately, lead to "dead zones,"
he said.
"Bottom trawling and
dredging has been likened to
clear-cutting a forest merely to
hunt game," Pauly said in an
interview with the Globe and
Pauly hopes the images will
focus wider attention on trawling
damage and on the possible uses
of satellites to monitor fishing.
Galapagos DNA search gives
hope to 'Lonesome George'
Michael Russello, a UBC
Okanagan biology and ecology
researcher, led an international
team that has found evidence
that the world's last remaining
Pinta Island tortoise - Lonesome
George - may have family
living on another island in the
Galapagos Islands.
BBC News, Australian
Broadcasting Corporation,
Agence Trance Presse, Globe
and Mail and CBC Radio
reported that the group found
a "hybrid" Pinta Island/Isabela
Island tortoise on Isabela Island,
suggesting that a Pinta tortoise
must be or was once on Isabela
somewhere among the 3000
tortoises there.
Russello's team is now trying
to raise money to search for the
father, or other purebred tortoises
of George's kind who may have
drifted to Isabela Island with the
ocean currents. Their research
was published in the May 1
edition of Current Biology.
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual
Teens in B.C. Still Face Health
Lesbian, gay and bisexual teens
in B.C. experience greater levels
of violence and more health
challenges than heterosexual
teens, according to a report
released by Vancouver-based
McCreary Centre Society and
UBC researcher Elizabeth Saewyc.
The study, covered by
the Globe and Mail, CBC
Newsworld and the Halifax
Chronicle Herald, also found
that sexually active gay, lesbian
and bisexual teenagers in B.C. are
up to three times more likely to
be involved in a pregnancy than
their heterosexual counterparts.
Saewyc, a professor in UBC's
School of Nursing, said one
possible reason young gays and
lesbians may become involved in
pregnancy is negative messages
they receive about their sexuality
from society.
"Young people may try to
avoid that stigma by reaching
for an identity they can be proud
of," Saewyc said. "In Canada,
we have very positive things
to say about motherhood and
Babies Discern Languages
Through Visual Cues
New York Times, Washington
Post, Voice of America, Forbes,
BBC, Globe and Mail and CTV
reported on a UBC study found
that, at four months, babies
can tell whether a speaker has
switched to a different language
from visual cues alone.
Using muted videos of
bilingual speakers, UBC
neuroscience doctoral
student Whitney Weikum and
Psychology Prof. Janet Werker
found that infants can discern
when a different language is
spoken by watching the shapes
and rhythm of the speaker's
mouth and face movements.
"We already know that babies
can tell languages apart using
auditory cues," said Weikum.
"But this is the first study to
show that young babies are
prepared to tell languages apart
using only visual information."
The journal Science published
the team's findings in its May 25
issue. 13
Executive Director  Scott Macrae scott.macrae@ubc.ca
Editor   Randy Schmidt randy.schmidt@ubc.ca
Designer Ann Goncalves ann.goncalves@ubc.ca
Principal Photography   Martin Dee martin.dee@ubc.ca
Web Designer  Michael Ko michael.ko@ubc.ca
Contributors   Lorraine Chan lorraine.chan@ubc.ca
Brian Lin brian.lin@ubc.ca
Bud Mortenson bud.mortenson@ubc.ca
Hilary Thomson hilary.thomson@ubc.ca
Basil Waugh basil.waugh@ubc.ca
Advertising  Sarah Walker public.affairs@ubc.ca
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Newton's Trees
at UBC:
Campus apples are direct
descendants of scientist's
iconic inspiration
By Basil Waugh
The tale of Sir Isaac Newton
and the apple tree, celebrated
by historians and cartoonists
alike, is one of the most enduring
stories in science.
But what many people
may not know is that direct
descendants of the same apples
that inspired Newton to
compose his theory of gravity in
1661, have been growing at UBC
for almost 40 years.
Just sit under them at your
own risk.
"You wouldn't want one of
those apples falling on you.
They are pretty big," says Lorna
Warren, widow of John Warren,
founding director of TRIUMF,
Canada's National Laboratory
for Particle and Nuclear Physics,
which is located on UBC's south
in front of the National Physical
Laboratory in London, England,
which is a granddaughter of the
tree that produced the iconic
apple that Newton watched fall.
Photos of TRIUMF's opening
ceremony on May 5, 1969 show
the first of these trees being
planted in the facility's traffic
circle by John Warren and then
federal Minister of Industry,
Trade and Commerce, Jean-Luc
Lorna Warren says six more
trees of the same stock were
later added, laid out with pansy
flowerbeds to depict TRIUMF's
logo, a cyclotron magnet.
With no plaque to mark the
site, the pansies long gone and
many of the TRIUMF faculty
who attended the ceremony
retired, the story of these seven
trees may have been lost, were
it not for a recent chance
"The story of these seven trees
may have been lost, were it not for
a recent chance conversation
between two cyclists passing the site."
"They look similar to a
Granny Smith apple, but they're
a little softer," she says. "They're
not bad to eat and good in pies
According to Lorna Warren
and TRIUMF archival materials,
in 1968 John Warren obtained
cuttings from a tree that grows
conversation between two
cyclists passing by the site.
"The wife of a TRIUMF
researcher told me about the
trees' history while we biked
by them one morning," says
Art Bomke, a professor in the
Faculty of Land and Food
Systems, who rides his bike
Land and Food Systems student Sarah Belanger sits under campus apple trees linked to Sir Isaac Newton.
Prof. Art Bomke
to work. "She had no idea my
background was in agriculture."
"It's a pretty neat story,"
Bomke says. "Apparently,
TRIUMF Prof. Emeritus Erich
Vogt always brought some of the
apples to his first year course on
Newtonian Mechanics."
Bomke sees the Newton
trees as part of an agricultural
continuum at UBC that includes
the UBC Farm, Vancouver's only
working farmland, and UBC's
Botanical Garden and Research
Centre, home of such popular
community events as the Apple
Festival and Perennial Plant Sale.
"The Newton trees are a
fantastic link to a watershed
scene in scientific history, but
they are also an important part
continued on page 4
Newton's Trees
to 41st and 49th Avenue
WHALE BIG GULP continued from page I
krill from the expelled water.
Based on published accounts
of krill density at these whale
foraging sites, Goldbogen was
able to conclude that each lunge
provides the fin whale with
about 10 kilograms of krill.
"Now that we know how
much krill is ingested per lunge,
we can estimate that a fin whale
must forage for approximately
three hours a day to meet its
daily energetic requirements,"
says Goldbogen. "That's about
the same amount of time humans
spend cooking and eating a day.
Considering their size and what
they eat, lunge-feeding appears
to be quite an efficient strategy
for these rorquals. This makes us
wonder what role lunge-feeding
has played in the evolution of
their extremely large bodies."
The new knowledge will
inform efforts to conserve these
endangered animals. "Even
though lunge-feeding enables
a whale to take big gulps of
prey-laden water, it does require
a lot of energy. As a result,
whales rapidly deplete their
oxygen stores and must return
to the surface to breathe after
taking only a few lunges. If prey
patches aren't dense enough or
are located too deep in the water,
rorquals will have to spend a
larger proportion of the day
searching for food."
Goldbogen and colleagues are
now comparing the jawbones
and skulls of all baleen whales
- which range from the six-
metre-long pygmy right whales
to 30-metre-long blue whales -
to determine the physics of these
massive structures during feeding
and how large whales evolved
from smaller ancestors. 13 4     I     UBC    REPORTS     |
NEWTON'S TREES continued from
of UBC's agricultural history," Bomke says.
TRIUMF (TRI-University Meson Faculty) is one of three subatomic
research facilities of its kind in the world and boasts the world's biggest
cyclotron particle accelerator. For more information visit www.triumf.
For more information on the Faculty of Land and Food Systems,
visit www.landfood.ubc.ca. 13
Students plant new orchard
at campus farm
Most major North American cities would be without
food in a week if residents had to rely on their own production,
says Sarah Belanger, a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Land
and Food Systems.
This daunting reality was one of the reasons Belanger planted an
orchard of 150 apple and plum trees at the
UBC Farm earlier this year as part of a self-directed
studies project.
"With only three per cent of society involved in agriculture, we
rely almost completely on food transportation and the grocery
store," says Belanger. "I think more people need to be taking
responsibility and learning to grow their own food."
For a year and a half, Belanger has been immersed in the project,
fundraising, consulting with faculty and B.C. orchardists, and
leading a committed group of student volunteers who have helped
her plant and care for the trees.
"I'd planted gardens before, but nothing this big," Belanger says.
"It was easily the most challenging educational experience I've
had, but also my most rewarding."
To increase the educational value of the orchard, Belanger planted
full-size and dwarf trees of 70 apple varieties. "I wanted to show
people that it is possible to grow fruit in the city. Dwarf trees just
need a little space in your yard or a community garden."
Belanger says the orchard gives students a hands-on classroom
to learn about all aspects of agriculture, including organic pest
management, irrigation, taxonomy, pruning and pollination.
Belanger says the trees will begin bearing fruit in three years.
She hopes the apples - a perennial crop - will be source of income
for the UBC Farm and envisions them being sold at UBC's annual
Apple Festival, the farm's summer market, and Sprouts, UBC's
natural food co-operative. 13
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Pride May Not Come Before a Fall, After All
This emotion can be a deadly sin or a healthy part of human expression, says psychology researcher Jessica Tracey.
by Lorraine Chan
Does pride always lead to our
downfall? A UBC researcher is
exploring different dimensions
of the emotion. And her findings
suggest pride only goes before a
fall when it's hubris - excessive
pride that veers into self-
aggrandizement and conceit.
But otherwise, this emotion
is fundamental to humans
and healthy self-esteem, says
Psychology Asst. Prof. Jessica
"There's good pride and
there's bad pride," says Tracy,
whose research is among the
first to explore the different
facets of this emotion.
Tracy and co-investigator
Prof. Richard Robins, University
of California, Davis, have
established that pride has two
faces: hubristic and authentic.
They developed their theoretical
model after conducting a range
of studies where participants
consistently came up with two
distinct categories to define and
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characterize pride.
"The two different facets
show us that hubristic pride
reflects feelings of arrogance,
grandiosity and superiority," says
An example she gives is of
someone finishing a task and
instead of focusing on their
achievement, will think, "I'm a
really great person."
By contrast, authentic pride
reflects achievement and mastery,
a sense of: "I worked really hard
and deserve that praise."
Tracy says the latter has
positive outcomes, while
"hubristic pride is associated
more with narcissism, which can
low self-esteem, says Tracy.
"Shame correlates with
pride. If present, pride may be
able to reinforce peaceful and
productive behaviours," notes
Tracy. "Its absence, caused by
humiliation or ego threats, could
provoke aggression or other
antisocial behaviours."
She says pride has received
little research attention in the
past since it didn't fit easily
into the category of "primary
emotions" such as fear, anger or
joy. Instead, pride is categorized
as a "self-conscious emotion,"
which develops out of social
interaction with others.
What particularly fascinates
hockey sees the pride expression
when someone scores. The player
raises his arms up, tilts his head
back and puffs his chest out."
To test her theory about
the universality of the pride
expression, Tracy conducted
research between 2003 and 2005
in Toussiana, a rural village in
Burkina Faso.
The villagers spoke only their
native African language, Dioula,
and could not read or write.
Working with a translator, Tracy
asked them to describe what they
saw in the photographs of male
and female white Americans and
West African, who displayed
different emotions.
"It's absence (pride), caused by humiliation or
ego threats, could provoke aggression
or other antisocial behaviors."
lead to inter-personal conflicts."
There were few measures
available to study the emotion's
duality, so Tracy developed an
assessment tool - the first of its
The measurement is a self-
report scale that offers the
respondent a selection of words
to describe feelings and views on
pride. "Arrogant," "conceited"
and "egotistical" would
indicate hubristic pride while
"achieving," "accomplished,"
"productive," "confident" and
"fulfilled" indicate authentic
These various shades of pride
are important when it to comes
to better understanding and
treating people for such issues as
Tracy is how this emotion
has evolved through time and
continues to shape human
social dynamics. For example,
the darker side of pride may
have evolved out of the age-old
human desire for status.
"Authentic pride might
motivate behaviours geared
toward long-term status
attainment," says Tracy,
"whereas hubristic pride
provides a 'short-cut' solution,
granting status that is more
immediate but fleeting, and in
some cases, unwarranted."
Another area of Tracy's
work explores how pride is
immediately recognizable to
others when translated into body
language. "Anyone watching
"We asked them whether
they knew George Bush or
Tom Cruise. They didn't. So if
these people recognized pride,
it wouldn't be because they had
seen Westerners showing it, on
TV or in the movies. "
Looking at the photos, the
villagers identified pride along
with the other six basic emotions
- anger, disgust, fear, happiness,
sadness and surprise.
"We saw that recognition of
the pride expression does cut
across cultures."
Tracy has received funding
from the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council
of Canada to conduct further
studies in Burkina Faso on pride
expression. 13 6     |     UBC    REPORTS     |    JUNE    7,    2007
Pump up Your Brain Power
By Hilary Thomson
Can being buff make you
That's what UBC
neuroscientist Brian Christie
is trying to find out. He
investigates biological
mechanisms that help the brain
create new cells, or neurons, as
a result of exercise.
He is especially interested in
how exercise can help generate
new cells in the adult brain. His
findings offer hope of cellular
repair and replacement in
conditions such as Alzheimer's
disease, stroke, schizophrenia,
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder and Fetal Alcohol
Christie, an associate
professor in the division of
neuroscience and a member of
the Brain Research Centre at
UBC Hospital, was one of
the first researchers to
discover that exercise
promotes the birth of
brain cells, a process
called neurogenesis,
in the hippocampus
- an area of the brain
involved with learning
and memory.
The research team
believes there are several
components to the effects of
exercise. It increases blood
flow to the brain, bringing
additional oxygen and other
nutrients. Also, exercise changes
the metabolism in the brain,
making neurons and their
receptor proteins more efficient.
Receptor proteins allow cells to
recognize chemical messengers
and are key to learning and
memory. In addition, exercise
Can a regular work-out help counter the effects of aging on the brain? Neuroscientist
Brian Christie is interested in how exercise helps generate new cells in the adult brain.
learning and memory.
Christie's research also uses
animal models that mimic
functional impairment seen
in Alzheimer's disease, stroke
and dementias such as Down
syndrome. He has found that
exercise in adults not only
creates new neurons in the
hippocampus, it also increases
the number of synapses and
the complexity of dendrites.
It all adds up to increased
computational power for
learning and memory.
So how much exercise is
needed? Only about 20-30
minutes of brisk walking a day,
says Christie. But don't think
running a daily marathon will
make you a genius or cure a
brain disease.
"Exercise can't cure disease,
but we've seen that it can retard
the progression of major
illnesses and preserve our
mental capacity. And it's
never too late to start."
VCHRI is the
research body of
Vancouver Coastal
Health and the fourth
largest research
institute in Canada.
In academic partnership
with UBC, VCHRI brings
innovation and discovery to
patient care, advancing healthier
lives in healthy communities
across British Columbia,
Canada, and beyond.
Christie's research is
supported by the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research,
the Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council,
the Human Early Learning
Partnership, the Alcohol Board
for Medical Research and
"Rather than an unchanging circuit board, some regions ofthe brain are more like small,
dynamic ecosystems - the better we take care of them, the better they function."
also facilitates the production
of other chemicals, called
neurotrophins, that help
promote neuron survival.
"I didn't believe our results at
first," says Christie of his 1999
study. "I actually ended up
running the entire experiment
twice just to make sure that we
were indeed seeing all of these
He also found that exercise
promotes synaptic plasticity,
the ability of the synapse
- the parts of neurons where
information flows from one
cell to another - to allow
neurons to communicate
with one another. Improved
synaptic plasticity means greater
efficiency and effectiveness in
communication between nerve
cells with resulting gains in
brain function.
In 2005, Christie, who is also
a member of the Vancouver
Coastal Health Research
Institute (VCHRI), found that
exercise could also repair
parts of the brain damaged by
prenatal exposure to alcohol.
"The findings go against
everything I was taught as a
undergrad," he says. "Rather
than an unchanging circuit
board, some regions of the brain
are more like small, dynamic
ecosystems - the better we take
care of them, the better they
Now he is investigating
effects of exercise on the aging
hippocampus, in animal models.
Normal aging means loss
of brain cells and branches of
cells called dendrites that allow
communication between cells.
In humans, these losses start
around age 60-65.
Christie is focused on the
continual introduction of new
neurons into the adult brain
via exercise and how they
integrate into the existing neural
architecture to promote better
the Scottish Rites Charitable
Foundation. 13
2.008 Honorary Degree Nominations
The Tributes committee is seeking nominations
of outstanding individuals who have made
distinguished contributions within their field.
For a nomination form, please go to
Please mail nominations to:
Chair, Tributes Committee
c/o Ceremonies Office, 2nd Floor, Ponderosa B
Campus Zone 2.
Deadline for nominations is September 15, 2007 UBC    REPORTS       JUNE    7,    2007     |     7
Teenage Toll:
Girls Stressed by Bodies They Can't Have
By Lorraine Chan
No wonder girls get weird
about their bodies.
For the past 10 years, Prof.
Peter Crocker has studied how
adolescents experience and view
their bodies. More than ever,
says Crocker, girls face pressure
from within and without to look
a certain way.
"One 13-year-old girl told us
that a boy in her class was text
messaging her that she was fat
and should lose some weight,"
says Crocker, who teaches at the
UBC School of Human Kinetics.
Crocker adds that although
adolescent girls realize on an
intellectual level that few people
resemble the women on TV, or in
the magazines, movies and ads,
they still want to achieve that
idealized image.
"There's a disconnect between
knowing they can't have that
body, but still desiring it,"
observes Crocker.
He says this disconnect can
lead to "social physique anxiety"
(SPA), a psychological term
in use since the 1980s. SPA
describes the anxiety and distress
that ensues when individuals
aren't able to achieve their
desired appearance.
Whether teenage girls are
resorting to healthy or harmful
ways to cope with SPA is the
focus of Crocker's latest study,
Coping with Social Physique
Anxiety in Adolescence.
Recently published in the
Journal of Adolescent Research,
the study's co-authors are
Kent Kowalski, University of
Saskatchewan; Diane Mack,
Brock University; Catherine
Sabiston, McGill University, and
Human Kinetics Prof. Peter Crocker looks at how adolescents are affected by idealized images.
More difficult to measure was
the use of dieting since most
girls mentioned some form of
dietary restraint. "There's a
whole range of ways that girls
limit food intake. They'll skip a
meal, or only eat certain foods."
Between 2003 and 2006,
Crocker carried out a
longitudinal study with 500
adolescent girls, between the
ages 14-17. By Grade 9 or 14-
years old, 30-40 per cent of the
study participants experienced
moderate to high SPA and
stayed at that level during the
three-year study.
At least 20 per cent
experienced high SPA, usually
triggered by situations where
they feared people would be
evaluating and criticizing their
physical appearance.
The study showed that
even if a young woman has a
"normative" body, she may
berate herself for the way her
calves or breasts look. "It's
potentially problematic the way
some young women focus on
flaws that no one else sees," says
As the father of a 17-year-
old daughter, Crocker says he
empathizes with parents who
seek ways to offset the barrage
of media images. "One step
would be to ensure girls are
media savvy so they can look
critically at the messages they're
Another precaution would be
to emphasize success in various
domains, "not just being pretty
and attractive."
Lastly, Crocker urges parents
to be aware of the types of
behaviour and attitudes they
"One step would be to ensure girls are media savvy so they can look critically
at the messages they're receiving."
Whitney Sedgwick, a registered
psychologist at UBC Counseling
The researchers interviewed
31 females between ages 13-18
on their experiences of and
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ways of coping with SPA. For
the most part, the participants
relied on non-harmful ways to
manage their stress. Few study
participants reported harmful
measures such as bulimia or
laxatives or supplements to
increase metabolism.
"The primary strategy for
SPA tends to be appearance
management," says Crocker.
"The girls talk about using
makeup, pushup bras or clothes
they consider sexy to accentuate
desirable features. Or they
would use clothing to hide
undesirable features."
An equally common approach
would be to avoid potentially
embarrassing situations.
"They'd stay away from places
like the beach or gym, anywhere
they feel their body would be on
When it came to using
exercise to change their
appearance, it was mostly
short term and excessive, says
"A girl would look in the
mirror and didn't like the way
her stomach looked and do 200
sit ups, or run five to 10 km. It's
not a sustained physical activity
themselves model: for example,
mothers who urge their
daughters to diet.
"Parents think they're
operating in their children's best
interest, but may be generating
more anxiety."
Crocker's research has
received funding from the
Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada
and the Canadian Heart and
Stroke Foundation. 13 I     UBC    REPORTS     |    JUNE    7,    2007
Pucks, Prose and Probabilities:
From the post-lockout NHL to the texts of Alfred the Great,
stats professor finds the stories lurking deep in the data
by Bud Mortenson
"He shoots, he scores," rang
out more often in the National
Hockey League over the past
two seasons. So, too, did the
referee's whistle.
More goals, more excitement.
That was the vision when the
NHL overhauled its rulebook
two years ago, in part to rekindle
fan interest following a 2004-
2005 season lost to a player
lockout. The game changed as
expected, with teams averaging
1.92 goals in a home game
before the new rules, and 2.12
goals after. But the game also
changed in some unexpected
ways, says Paramjit Gill, an
associate professor of statistics at
UBC Okanagan.
"The league promised zero
tolerance for hooking, holding,
tripping, slashing, cross-checking
and interference," says Gill.
"This resulted in more penalties
being awarded - more than
14,000 in the 2005-2006 season,
in comparison to about 10,000
in previous seasons."
Gill and student Stephen
Welsh have applied statistical
modeling tools to NHL regular
seasons 2003-2004 and 2005-
2006 (before and after the
lockout year), examining even-
him to look a thousand years
into the past. Collaborating
with Michael Treschow, Assoc.
Professor of English at UBC
Okanagan, last year Gill
applied stylometry - statistically
measuring word usage - to 9th-
century religious texts believed
translated from Latin to Old
English by King Alfred.
"Each writer has his or her
own wordprint - just like a
fingerprint," Gill explains. "Non-
contextual or 'function' words
- and, or, it, whether - have
nothing to do with what you're
writing about, but by counting
those, you can distinguish
between authors."
Three translations that had
long been attributed to Alfred
did, indeed, cluster together on
the frequency of function words.
However, says Gill, one other
translation attributed to Alfred,
The First Fifty Prose Psalms, was
found not to be an Alfredian text
- a conclusion that challenges
some authoritative scholars of
Medieval languages.
Gill's application of statistical
tools to ancient texts - and to the
NHL - represents a new depth
of analysis that takes advantage
of today's readily accessible
data, he says. A decade ago, he
painstakingly collected hockey
"There's no doubt the subject - statistics - is hard. The advantage of
using sports is that it's much easier to get across to students."
strength goals, power play goals
and power play opportunities.
"The home team's ability to
score during an even-strength
play increased during 2005-
2006 as compared to the game
under old rules," Gill says, "but
there wasn't any change in the
home-ice advantage during the
power play."
Power play scoring ability
became more important under
the new rules. On the other
hand, penalty killing ability
appeared to have less impact on
a team's standings.
This summer, they're analyzing
the NHL's 2006-2007 regular
Paramjit Gill applied statistical analysis to the NHL's hockey numbers
before and after rule changes were introduced.
season. Already, they've found
that while the number of
penalties assessed this season fell
from 14,000 to about 12,000,
the chances of scoring during a
power play are the same as the
previous year.
"The rule changes introduced
by the NHL were designed to
open up the game, increase
scoring and present a more
entertaining product," Welsh
observes. "No lead is supposed
to be safe anymore. However,
preliminary analysis shows that
the winning percentage of teams
trailing entering the third period
has actually decreased in the
post-lockout years - teams are
actually finding it more difficult
to come from behind and win."
Looking at sports is a great
teaching tool, says Gill. "There's
no doubt the subject - statistics -
is hard," he says. "The advantage
of using sports is that it's much
easier to get across to students."
Gill's primary research is a
long way from the sports field,
though. Projects include studying
air quality and asthma in
populations, and the analysis of
rare-event phenomena. Over the
years he has examined accident
rates, teenage pregnancies, drug
prescriptions by region, and
the codling moth in Okanagan
orchards - always looking for
patterns emerging from the data.
"To me, that makes the work
very exciting," says Gill. "I see
the similarities in these things.
It's very fulfilling to see through
the lens of statistical modeling."
That lens has even allowed
stats from the daily newspapers.
Today, an entire season's data
can be obtained almost instantly
from the Internet. 13
l^jraUji    Applications for Directorship,
-ill TrTA     Centre for Korean Research
iNSTmjTEOF Asian Research
The Institute of Asian Research is seeking applications from within the
University for the post of Director of the Centre for Korean Research. Applicants
should hold academic appointments at UBC and have a demonstrated record
of research activities and achievements concentrated on Korea. The successful
applicant will be expected to take up the appointment on September 1, 2007.
The successful candidate will be expected to develop research programs
focusing on Korea, seek funding from external donors for the programs of the
Centre for Korean Research, organize conferences and seminars on the Centre's
research interests and projects, administer the budget of the Centre, and chair
the Centre's management committee. The Centre Director will be expected to
collaborate with the Director of the Institute of Asian Research in developing
inter-Centre and interdisciplinary teaching and research initiatives. The Centre
Director will also serve on the Council of the Institute.
UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. We
encourage all qualified persons to apply.
The appointment will be for a fixed term of three to five years. The deadline for
applications is )une 30, 2007. Applicants should send a letter describing their
interest in the position, a curriculum vitae, and the names and postal and e-mail
addresses of three references to:
Tim Cheek, Acting Director
Institute of Asian Research
CK. Choi Building, Room 251
1855 West Mall, UBC, V6T 1Z2
Tel: (604) 822-4688   Fax: (604) 822-5207
e-mail: tcheek@interchange.ubc.ca UBC    REPORTS       JUNE    7,    2007     |     9
Unplugging the Pop Machines:
Prof, examines school efforts to reduce obesity
By Hilary Thomson
Regularly labeled an epidemic,
the rapid rise in Canada of
childhood obesity has grabbed
the attention of government,
school administrators, parents
- and researchers like Louise
An associate professor of
pediatrics, Masse is an expert in
obesity prevention and physical
activity for children. Recently
returned to Canada from the
U.S., she will soon launch a
study to examine how school
policies related to nutrition
and physical education are
implemented and to what extent
the policies influence children's
behaviours. She will also
look at barriers to instituting
school-based healthy eating and
physical activity programs.
"There is no silver bullet
in obesity prevention," says
Masse, who is a member of
the Child & Family Research
Institute (CFRI). "We really need
to look at the whole picture,
the influence of the school
environment, community and
A March 2007 House of
Commons Report of the
Standing Committee on Health,
called Healthy Weights for
Healthy Kids, stated that
Canada has one of the highest
rates of childhood obesity in
the developed world, ranking
fifth out of 34 Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and
Development countries.
The report also notes that 26
per cent of Canadians between
the ages of two and 17 are
overweight or obese. In 1978
the combined rate was 15 per
cent. In B.C., rates for childhood
obesity match the Canadian
Overweight measurements
Assoc. Prof, of Pediatrics Louise Masse is launching a study to examine how school efforts to advance nutrition
and physical education are implemented and to what extent the policies influence children's behaviours.
and obesity are calculated
using the body mass index
Instituteof Asian Research
Applications for Directorship,
Centre for Southeast Asia Research
The Institute of Asian Research is seeking applications from within the
University for the post of Director of the Centre for Southeast Asia Research.
Applicants should hold academic appointments at UBC and have a
demonstrated record of research activities and achievements concentrated on
one or more countries or regions of Southeast Asia. The successful applicant
will be expected to take up the appointment on September 1, 2007.
The successful candidate will be expected to develop research programs
focusing on Southeast Asia, seek funding from external donors for the programs
of the Centre, organize conferences and seminars on the Centre's research
interests and projects, administer the budget of the Centre, and chair the
Centre's management committee. The Centre Director will be expected to
collaborate with the Director of the Institute of Asian Research in developing
inter-Centre and interdisciplinary teaching and research initiatives. The Centre
Director will also serve on the Council ofthe Institute.
UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. We
encourage all qualified persons to apply.
The appointment will be for a fixed term of three to five years. The deadline for
applications is )une 30, 2007. Applicants should send a letter describing their
interest in the position, a curriculum vitae, and the names and postal and e-mail
addresses of three references to:
Tim Cheek, Acting Director
Instituteof Asian Research
CK. Choi Building, Room 251
1855 West Mall, UBC, V6T 1Z2
Tel: (604) 822-4688   Fax: (604) 822-5207
e-mail: tcheek@interchange.ubc.ca
(BMI), a formula based on the
relationship of weight to height.
In children, the index is adjusted
for the age and gender of each
child to account for different
growth patterns.
In a two-year study, Masse
plans to interview 25-30 school
principals, teachers and parents
from a sampling of B.C. schools.
School policies that affect
child health can be complex,
says Masse. Policy-makers must
consider matters ranging from
insurance liability for after-
school exercise programs to
contract obligations for vending
machines and costs of hiring a
specially trained PE teacher or
school nutritionist.
whose viewing was an hour
or less, according to a 2004
Canadian Community Health
And though schools take a
lot of criticism for contributing
to obesity, for many kids it is
summer vacation that packs
on the pounds via an increase
in screen time and freedom to
"graze" all day on snack foods,
according to a Ohio State
University study published in the
April 2007 issue of the American
Journal of Public Health. Data
from a survey of more than
5,300 children from around
the U.S. showed BMI scores
increased on average more than
twice as much over the summer
compared with the school year.
"During the school year, the
hours from 3 to 6:30 p.m. are
critical," says Masse. "Some
children are at home without
parental guidance and may be
discouraged or disallowed to go
outside because of perceptions of
danger. For many, this is a time
to engage in sedentary activities
and snack on unhealthy food.
These patterns can intensify in
the summer months."
Although current interest in
childhood obesity helps raise
awareness, it can result in too
much emphasis on obesity and
too little on overall child health,
she says.
"We want kids to be
concerned with health and to
know that healthy eating and
exercise is beneficial regardless
of weight. Skinny doesn't
necessarily mean healthy and
dieting is hard on growing
bodies. Well-balanced living that
includes nutritious food, sweet
treats in moderation, exercise
and some down time is the goal."
Masse's research is supported
by the Michael Smith
Foundation for Health Research
MSFHR leads, partners and
serves as a catalyst to build
British Columbia's capacity for
excellence in clinical, biomedical,
health services and population
health research.
CFRI works in close
"...though schools take a lot of criticism for
contributing to obesity, for many kids it is summer
vacation that packs on the pounds."
Topics will include physical
education curriculum, school-
provided lunches, vending
machines, as well as nutrition
and exercise policies currently
implemented or proposed.
She will also canvass 400-
600 students (age range not
yet determined) to find out
about their eating and exercise
behaviours and to disentangle
influences of school, community
and home in shaping physical
activity and eating behaviours.
Influences such as bringing
lunch and eating dinner at home
with family were associated with
a decreased likelihood of obesity,
according to a study published in
2005 that surveyed 5,200 Grade
5 students in Nova Scotia. Also,
routines that include more than
two hours a day watching TV,
playing video games or using the
computer - activities collectively
known as screen time - doubled
the likelihood of obesity or being
overweight, compared to those
partnership with UBC; BC
Children's Hospital and Sunny
Hill Health Centre for Children;
BC Women's Hospital & Health
Centre, agencies of the Provincial
Health Services Authority and
the BC Children's Hospital
Foundation. It is the largest
research institute of its kind in
Western Canada and conducts
discovery research to benefit the
health of children and families. 13 io     I     UBC    REPORTS     |    JUNE    7,    2007
The University communities comment is sought on the draft
Policy #15 (Tobacco and Smoking Product Promotion and Use).
The full text of the policy and relevant maps can be seen at
The Board of Governors have directed public consultation on a complete
revision ofthe existing Smoking Policy #15 originally passed in July 1991.
The revision is to respond to the increased awareness of the health affects
of smoking and second hand smoke as well as a decrease in the acceptance
of smoking, promotion of smoking, and sale of smoking products. It is clear
that the current policy no longer conforms to the expectations of students
and staff or the principle of the university to promote a healthy and safe
university environment.
A comprehensive review of Policy #15 was commenced in 2006. A study
was conducted on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses of smoking
behaviour and locations by Melissa Feddersen, Health and Wellness Centre
UBCO. The results showed a low but still significant level of smoking out-
of-doors and different smoking behaviours on the 2 campuses primarily
associated with the provision of smoking gazebos at UBCO as designated
smoking areas.
At almost the same time on March 29, 2007 the BC Government passed
several tobacco related laws - that will shortly allow for the renaming and
expanding ofthe Tobacco Sales Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 451. That Act will
become the Tobacco Control Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 451 with regulations
directly affecting the use and sale of tobacco at health and education
facilities - specifically including universities.
A proposal for a completely rewritten policy to replace the existing
Policy #15 arose from the internal review and the statutory revisions and
anticipated regulations. The proposal is more stringent than the current state
of the law but permits modifications in the procedures to avoid conflict if
any forthcoming regulations use different formulae or are more rigorous.
This policy is intended to diminish the exposure to smoke and promote
health and safety by: reducing or eliminating on campus sale and promotion
of tobacco and Smoking Products; and reducing exposure of others to
second hand and side stream smoke.
UB C promotes a healthy and safe university environment. Contrary to this
principle tobacco use and smoking causes harm to the user and poses danger
and discomfort to others. This policy will allow for exercise of personal
choice subject to the primacy of protection of others from risk of harm or
The methods to achieving success in these stated goals are to:
• prohibit promotion and commercial dealings with tobacco and Smoking
Products as defined from time to time in the procedure such as tobacco
through to trinkets with cigarette logos, or non-kid safe lighters;
• designate permitted Smoking areas to encourage people who smoke to do
so in locations that reduce the exposure to others; and
• prohibit Smoking (defined as includes holding a lighted Smoking Product)
in places controlled and occupied by UBC where second hand and side
stream smoke is unavoidable or difficult to avoid without imposition upon
non-smokers - specifically:
- substantially enclosed UBC spaces
- UB C vehicles
- bus shelters on campus
- non-smoking buffer zones on campus from doors, windows, bus shelters,
air intakes, and hazardous materials areas (even if outside).
The draft nominally sets the smoking buffer zones at 5 metres but comment
is expressly solicited on the distances in any location, and whether to include
vertical distances. At http://www.universitycounsel.ubc.ca/news/index.
html maps show the impact of having a 5 or 10 metre distance from
buildings and building clusters creating or excluding intersecting buffer
zones. For vertical distance comment is requested on whether to include
vertical distances (e.g. to 2nd storey windows), or whether to set them at the
same or different distances than ground level buffer zones.
The policy only applies to UBC controlled and occupied places and excludes
places leased to other parties unless otherwise induced under some other
provision in the policy or procedures, which automatically includes the
Tobacco Control Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 451.
The draft procedures will apply to all new leases signed from a specific date
(nominally September 1, 2007 - and a date for which comment is expressly
solicited) unless added to an exclusion list in the procedures. These steps all
prevent UBC from violating its lease agreements, provide an ability to adjust
to changes in regulation, and provide transparency on future exceptions
made to leases regarding sale of products.
The Okanagan campus currently has no leaseholders that sell cigarettes.
Some leaseholders on the Vancouver campus under existing leases are
permitted to sell cigarettes, and at least one does so. UBC does not control
the Students' Union Building leases which are administered by the AMS.
The policy also allows for permits to be obtained for smoking on
campus where permitted by law, in connection with culturally significant
celebrations. The UBC Director, Ceremonies and Events Office is
responsible for issuing such permits. Legislation may require provincial
permits to be obtained as well.
The Vice-President, Administration and Finance is responsible for
implementation ofthe policy, is empowered to designate smoking and
no smoking areas, and may designate those responsible for day-to-day
implementation and enforcement.
We are now seeking advice and comments from the University
community. For the full text ofthe proposed Policy #15 (Tobacco and
Smoking Product Promotion and Use) follow the link at http://www.
universitycounsel.ubc.ca/news/index.html. Please submit feedback to the
Office of the University Counsel at university.counsel@ubc.ca. All feedback
should be submitted by 4:30 pm on Friday, July 13, 2007.
It is expected that, subject to feedback from this public consultation process,
the proposed new policy will be submitted to the Board of Governors with a
request for final approval at its regularly scheduled meeting in September of
BRITISH   COLUMBIA UBC    REPORTS       JUNE    7,    2007     |     II
New Vault a Hit with School Groups
The Pacific Museum ofthe Earth, popular with school groups for its 22-foot-long dinosaur skeleton (above), now features a precious minerals vault (below).
By Brian Lin
Rare gemstones are on display
at UBC for the first time thanks
to a new vault at the Pacific
Museum of the Earth (PME) in
the Dept. of Earth and Ocean
Originally established at UBC
as the M.Y. Williams Geological
Museum in the 1970s, the PME
inherited collections from the
Pacific Mineral Museum in
downtown Vancouver in June
2003 and was renamed to reflect
its diverse exhibits, which cover
everything from the earth's core
to the stratosphere.
The PME attracts more than
1,500 visitors a year to peruse
its collection of several thousand
minerals, fossils, a 22-foot-long
dinosaur skeleton and a tornado
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T: (604) 822-5561
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Diamonds, emeralds, gold,
silver, and meteorites - including
a piece of Mars - are among the
18 precious mineral exhibits in the
high-security vault. The valuable
specimens, some on display for the
first time on campus, are presented
on dark pedestals and spotlighted
with fibre optics to create a
'floating' effect.
One exhibit showcases several
pieces of ammolite, the iridescent
shell material of ammonites, a
marine organism which went
extinct 65 million years ago.
Only occurring in the Bearpaw
formation that extends between
Alberta, Saskatchewan and
Montana, gem quality ammolite is
the rarest gemstone in the world.
Categories for evaluating
commercial gems - color, clarity,
cut and size - aren't the only
considerations when selecting
for a mineral exhibit, explains
museum Curator Mackenzie
"What really stands out for us
are samples that show how the
minerals are formed or how they
interact with their surroundings,"
says Parker.
One of the diamond specimens
in the exhibit is especially of
interest because it is still set in
its original host rock. "Since
opportunities to collect diamonds
before they have been separated
from their host rock are rare, this
is more valuable as a specimen to
geologists and students than one
that's set in a ring."
Since the vault opened this
spring, along with the museum's
new Teachers Resource Centre,
requests for organized tours have
"The majority of our visitors
are school groups where
teachers utilize our collections
to supplement their curriculum,"
says Parker. "The most popular
activities are the two new hands-
on workshops at the Teachers
Resource Centre - the Mineral
Properties exercise and the Rock
ID exercise - that give students
an opportunity to perform some
of the basic identification and
sorting exercises that geologists
do on a regular basis."
Vault 12     |     UBC    REPORTS     |    JUNE    7,    2007
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Ensuring Financial Peace of Mind


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