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UBC Reports Jan 8, 2004

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VOLUME  50   I  NUMBER   1   I  JANUARY   8,2004
2 UBC in the News
4 Rogues' Gallery
5 The Sixth Sense
7 A Smoke before Dying
8 A Letter from Oxford
Getting the Small Picture /
Biolmaging facility sees it all. by Michelle cook
Elaine Humphrey sees a lot   of
strange things in her line of work,
but some of the requests she gets
are even stranger — like the time a
crew member on the X-Files called
to borrow some of Humphrey's
creepy "bug" photos to use in an
episode of the popular sci-fi TV
Stranger still was the day a
researcher from the Centre for
Disease Control asked her if he
could come to her offices to take some pictures of a new virus
named SARS.
Fielding such diverse requests is all in a day's work when you
run UBC's Biolmaging Facility, says Humphrey, the unit's director
since 1996.
It's the place where people go when they want to get a picture
— a really good picture — of what they're studying. That includes
everything from viruses and bacteria to human brain tissue and
the body parts of all kinds of garden crawlers magnified to
thousands of times their actual size.
The facility is tucked away, in classic horror movie fashion, in
a remote basement corner of the BioSciences Building. But the
strangest things in it are the images produced there with the help
of some of the most sophisticated microscopes, computers,
scanners and other magnification and digital photo production
equipment on the market.
On the walls are close-ups — many of them taken by
Humphrey — of python-sized millipedes, tarantula fangs, and a
centimetre-long poacher fish of dragon-like proportions. As for
the SARS virus, Humphrey says it
wasn't so menacing to look at, even
when enlarged.
"It was just a blob with little blobs
around it," says Humphrey. "Not
nearly as gorgeous as the beautiful
crystalline structures of marine
viruses that are brought down from
[microbiology and immunology and
marine biology professor Curtis]
Suttle's lab to be photographed."
If Humphrey, who has a PhD in
oceanography, sounds like she's
seen it all, she probably has — at
least when it comes to the biological
sciences research being done on
Annually      more      than      650
researchers use the facility. On a typical   day,   UBC's   star  microbiologist
Brett Finlay might drop by to do some
work related to his research on the SARS
vaccine or E. coli bacteria, or leading immu-
nologist Wilf Jefferies could book time to produce
images for his work to combat immune disorders. Outside users
— from biotech powerhouse QLT to local artisan cheese makers
— also pay to use the equipment.
Humphrey is quick to point out that research isn't the facility's
only function. She and her staff are just as likely to be found
teaching a group of graduate students how to use the Cryo
continued on page 4
With sophisticated magnification techniques, Elaine Humphrey can take larger-than-life photos of sea creatures like the poacher fish {above left).
Not Lost in Translation
UBC Creative Writing course examines the art
of subtitling, by erica smishek
Mark Harris believes more — and better — subtitled films will enrich our culture and our lives.
Mark Harris more closely
resembles your big brother's
gentle, slightly disheveled best
friend than a cultural warlord.
But word by word, line by line,
he is taking on Hollywood's global domination of the creative marketplace and injecting some much-
needed diversity into the films, television, animation and even comic
books available to Canadians.
Harris is the originator, instructor and inspirational guru behind
The Art of Subtitling, a unique
course offered through UBC's
Creative Writing program and
thought to be the only one of its
kind in Canada. Aimed at
filmmakers, screenwriters,
playwrights, language and
comparative literature students,
film scholars and freelance
journalists, it explores one of the
most important if underrated
motion picture arts.
"I consider it a counter-attack
to [Motion Picture Association of
America President] Jack Valenti
and his desire to dominate the
world market with American
films," Harris says. "I want to
have genuine globalism versus this
phony globalism we have now.
"Why is it that with 150 channels, we can't see Indonesian flying
head   [well   known   in   Southeast
Asian folklore, a vampire-like
creature who must feed on blood]
movies? Why do we just get reruns
of Seinfeld or MASH?"
Quite clearly, the man loves
language and is fascinated by how
words unite with pictures or
performance to create a rare slice
of life shaped by country and culture. He wants to share that love
with students and, in the process,
develop a talent pool capable of
creating idiomatic Canadian
versions of foreign-language films.
"I want to open up people's
minds to different things," Harris
says with enthusiasm and without
Working in teams, language and
literature specialists are paired
with students who concentrate on
screenwriting and film studies.
They have the opportunity to study
the script as it is rewritten into
another language and to become
the writer or co-writer of select
scripts and scenes in English.
In addition to subtitles for films,
students produce versions of comic
books, graphic novels, animation,
TV-friendly plays and opera
libretti. More unusual projects
have included an entirely
new genre called photoroman,
which matches autobiographical
continued on page 6 2       |      UBC      REPORTS      |      JANUARY
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More and more U.S. students are coming to Canada for quality post-secondary education.
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in December 2003. compiled by brian lin
Canada Fast-Tracks Vaccines
Canadian researchers are fast-
tracking efforts to ward off the
deadly SARS virus.
Research funded by the province
of British Columbia and led by
UBC microbiologist Brett Finlay
could see human trials in place as
early as next fall if there was
another outbreak of SARS.
This summer's outbreak affected
8,100 people around the world,
killing 774, including 44 in
"This is not a long, slow,
methodical work-it-out type (of)
vaccine," Finlay told Reuters.com,
adding that his group is trying to
parlay $2.6 million Cdn into a
usable vaccine in an unprecedented
two years — a process that normally takes a decade and at least
$200 million Cdn.
Seeking Ivy Amid the Maple
The number of American university students in Canada has nearly
doubled in the last five years, to
more than 4,200 this year, reports
the Los Angeles Times.
Three leading Canadian schools
— UBC in Vancouver, the
University of Toronto and Queens
University in Kingston, — have
drawn more Americans by recruiting jointly in the United States,
calling their group "Canadian Ivy."
Donald Wehrung, a UBC
professor who directs international
recruiting for the school, said the
number of U.S. undergraduates at
UBC has more than tripled in five
years, to 241 students in the last
school year.
Anorexia may Cause
The malnutrition that results from
anorexia may cause emphysema,
UBC radiology professor Harvey
Coxon told CBS News.
Coxon and colleagues used a
new method of assessing computed
tomography scans to analyze the
lungs of 14 anorexia patients and
found the malnutrition in these
patients changed the physical
structure of their lungs.
"There is a reduction in the
amount of lung tissue in patients
with anorexia nervosa," says
Coxson, who is also an investigator at Vancouver Coastal Health
Research Institute at Vancouver
General Hospital.
"It is unclear whether these
structural changes are permanent,
but if they are, early therapy is
important in patients who have
Sexing up Cellphone Ads
Mobile phones with cameras are
quickly catching on in Canada —
and Telus Mobility has seized on
the new technology with a heavy
advertising blitz that combines cute
with sexual innuendo.
Using sex "can be very effective," UBC marketing professor
Darren Dahl told The Globe and
"It certainly attracts attention,"
said Dahl, who is researching sexual themes in advertising. "That's
the first goal of advertising, to
break through the clutter."
Still, he says, the situation is a
"bit tricky. With concerns of privacy with these types of phones, it's a
tough balancing act."
S&P Affirms UBCAA-'
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
has affirmed its 'AA-' long-term
issuer credit and senior unsecured
debt ratings on UBC, reports
The ratings on UBC reflect the
university's status as a flagship
university in British Columbia and
its broad course range with high
academic standards.
The ratings also reflect UBC's
strong and growing research capability, together with significant
endowment income that diversify
the university's revenue sources.
Paving the Way for Female
UBC master's student Shona
Penhale has boldly gone where no
scientist has gone before — and
mapped the previously unidentified
nerves that cause sexual pleasure in
Penhale has unravelled the mysterious conduits of nerves that lace
through a mere — but critical —
eight centimetres of the vagina.
The results could provide vital
information about female sexual
dysfunction, may lead to a viable
Viagra for women and could help
surgeons avoid damaging crucial
pleasure-carrying nerve pathways
during surgery.
"It was completely uncharted,"
Penhale told The Globe and Mail.
Already, a doctor in Europe is
using a three-dimensional computer model based on Penhale's
findings as an educational tool.
Hockey and Opera Collide on
'Opera Night in Canada'
The UBC Opera Ensemble is using
Canada's favourite sport to introduce school children to the opera.
Dressed in red practice jerseys,
the ensemble emerge onstage to the
Hockey Night in Canada theme
song. The front of their jerseys
show a treble clef while on the
back, instead of surnames, appear
each "player's" voice name:
soprano, mezzo, tenor and
baritone. The performance consists
of excerpts from famous operas.
The goal is to show kids that
singing opera can be a job, just like
playing hockey, co-creator and
soprano Shauna Martin told the
CBC. She hopes that giving
children this early taste will help
open their minds to opera when
they get older.
Why Abused Women Take it
UBC professor Mary Russell has
spent the last 15 years trying to
figure out why women become
locked in abusive relationships. She
now believes she has the key.
Along with obvious factors such
as financial hardship and fear of
reprisals, women stay because of
their beliefs about relationships,
Russell told the Vancouver Sun.
"Belief systems are critical, they
underlie everything," said Russell,
who found those who abuse their
partners believe they are superior,
deserving, and the centre of their
Abused women also often feel
they can't manage on their own,
and are convinced their partner
comes first, Russell added. □
Director, Public Affairs
Scott Macrae  scott.macrae@ubc.ca
Paul Patterson  paul.patterson@ubc.ca
Design Director
Chris Dahl  chris.dahl@ubc.ca
Sharmini Thiagarajah  sharmini@exchange.ubc.ca
Cristina Calboreanu  mccalbor@exchange.ubc.ca
Michelle Cook michelle.cook@ubc.ca
Brian Lin  brian.lin@ubc.ca
Erica Smishek erica.smishek@ubc.ca
Hilary Thomson  hilary.thomson@ubc.ca
Cristina Calboreanu  mccalbor@exchange.ubc.ca
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Health Students Fan Out Across B.C.
Program the first of its kind in Canada, by Hilary Thomson
For the past four years, Monika
Milewski has been pursuing a degree
in nursing — sitting in campus lecture
halls, tutorials, labs and study groups
with other nursing students and
That all changed last summer.
That's when she got involved in the
Interprofessional Rural Program of
BC (IRPbc) and found herself
working in a small hospital in Bella
Coola on B.C.'s west coast, part of a
team of students in disciplines that
included medicine, occupational
therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy
and social work.
The first program of its kind in
Canada, the IRPbc seeks to improve
health-science students' capacity to
collaborate in patient care.
"I was motivated by being with
other IRPbc students interested in
working with the same population
that I was," says Milewski, who has
returned to Bella Coola to fill a temporary nursing position. "Besides
learning from the other students, I felt
lucky to learn from nurses and other
health professionals experienced in
the field."
IRPbc students complete
placements of 4-12 weeks under the
supervision of a local health-care
professional. Phase I of the program
began in the summer of 2003 with
students working in Bella Coola and
Hazelton and Port McNeill on
Vancouver Island.
"We're trying to transform the
health-care system with this
program," says Grant Charles,
assistant professor at UBC's School of
ate professor of family practice, to
Kingcome, a remote village 290 km
northeast of Vancouver.
While there, they completed an
on-the-spot assessment for several
patients with diabetes and other
health problems.
"The patients were delighted to get
attention they would not otherwise
have   received,"   says   Avery,   who
of Fruitvale, population 2,000.
"In a small, isolated community the
dynamic is totally different than in the
city. The responsibilities of the practitioners are much greatei;" says Suttie.
"I'd like to see first-hand how the
health-care community interacts
within a rural community."
Students work side by side and
learn from and about each other. They
Health-care students are getting out ofthe classroom and into the B.C. countryside.
works in Port McNeill at the northern
end of Vancouver Island. "There is an
immediacy to these situations that
allows for an enormous learning
potential. Students learn to think on
their feet and get on with the job
spend a minimum of three hours per
week with teammates discussing
patients and diagnostic and treatment
issues from a variety of
perspectives. They also learn how to
solve  problems  collaboratively  and
There is an immediacy to these situations that allows for an enormous learning
potential. Students learn to think on their feet and get on with the job because
if they don't do it, no one will.
Social Work and Family Studies and
part of the IRPbc team. "We're teaching students how to interact differently — how to understand patient care
from the perspective of other
health-care providers. This type of
program has never been done before."
Kathy Copeman-Stewart, IRPbc
program manager, advises that this
month, 18 students from seven
post-secondary institutions, including
10 fourth-year UBC students, will be
going to the original sites and to Fort
St. John in northeastern B.C. and Trail
in the southeast of the province. They
will work in teams at hospitals that
range in size from 15-80 beds.
Activities include flying in to remote
communities with a visiting health
professional and shadowing
health-care professionals.
Students in occupational therapy
and physiotherapy took their first trip
in a helicopter to accompany Dr.
Granger Avery, a UBC clinical associ-
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because if they don't do it, no one will.
That's the major value of rural
Students also learn first-hand
about the primitive level of health
services in some parts of the province
and what life is like in remote
communities, he adds.
Before their placement, students are
given a two-day orientation that looks
at interactive behaviour ability to
resolve conflicts within a group and
learning how to work with aboriginal
The placement curriculum also
addresses the challenges of maintaining personal and professional
boundaries in towns where everyone
knows everyone and health-care
professionals are highly visible
members of the community.
Pharmacy student Charlotte Suttie
will be working at Kootenay
Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail,
about 15 minutes from her hometown
set team goals.
Medical student Naomi Dove says
that in addition to offering a greater
understanding of the perspective and
skills of other health-care professionals, the program "helped to make me
aware of some of the misconceptions
existing between professions and the
limitations of my own profession."
"It's critical that one health-care
professional knows the responsibilities
and competencies of the other/' says
John Gilbert, chair of IRPbc's implementation committee and
principal of UBC's College of Health
Disciplines. "That way, no one falls
between the cracks and the right hand
has a pretty good idea what the left
hand is doing."
IRPbc is overseen by the BC
Academic Health Council in partnership with health authorities,
post-secondary institution and rural
communities, with support from the
Ministry of Health Planning. □
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Getting the Small
I W» W»J II   \*   continued from page 1
scanning electron microscope to
freeze and crack cells open for
examination, or giving a group of
mesmerized school children an
introductory course on using an
electron microscope to do a little
forensic detective work.
"It's exciting to look at viruses,
it's exciting to look at tissue, or
inside a cell," says the ebullient
Humphrey. "There's so much
inside a cell and when you look at
some of them you think 'what on
earth does that do?'
She adds that she wants students
to feel the 'wow' factor of what's
possible with such high-tech
equipment without feeling
intimidated to use it.
The facility's education and
training component is important
when you consider that the
microscopes in question don't look
anything like those clunky black
ones you used in high school
science class. Last year Humphrey
spent $2.25 million on new
instruments. One of those was the
field emission scanning electron
microscope (SEM). It fills an entire
room and can enlarge images
500,000 times.
Two   of  the   facility's   electron
microscopes have telepresencing.
This allows a graduate student
looking at a specimen in the lab to
discuss it with their supervisor in
another location in real time using
an Internet connection.
Humphrey is eagerly awaiting
the arrival of a variable pressure
SEM that can magnify wet materials like wood and food samples.
Also on her wish list is a 4D
microscope (no one else in Canada
has one) that would be able to collect a stack of images in seconds.
With an infectious enthusiasm,
Humphrey says her main goal is to
create a one-stop shop where all
users can get advice and access to
the equipment necessary to
produce the highest resolution
images possible.
After all, says Humphrey, "a
picture tells a thousand words.
The SARS virus for instance, you
can tell people about it, over and
over, and about sequencing the
genome, but if you can show them
a picture, that gets them
The Biolmaging Facility will be
opening a second "branch" in the
basement of UBC's soon-to-be
completed Life Sciences Centre. □
rvOPJlieS    vJcLlierV '  Take a gander at the gallery of images taken in the Biolmaging facility.
Can you guess what the following specimens are?
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The fourth Annual HSBC Basketball Classic tournament held its finals
and award ceremony at UBC's War Memorial Gym on Dec. 6. For the
first time, five First Nations teams representing three B.C. bands
participated in the unique exhibition games, where fifty-four $1,000
scholarships were handed out to players for their sportsmanship and community service.
Cheerleader Chelsea Mason(l to r), Tiffany Joseph of the Squamish
Nation, Lonzell Webster, Sam Fashler and Marco Pasqua. □
Overdue Book Fines Feed the Foodbank
Food for Fines program a hit. by Michelle cook
The UBC Library collected more than 4,900 items
for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank in November
— and waived just over $9,800 in fines — by
asking library users to pay off their debts from
overdue books with food instead of cash.
Called Food for Fines, the initiative was the
brainchild of AMS president Oana Chirila, who got
the idea at a meeting of her counterparts from other
Canadian universities. Queen's University and
all the universities in Nova Scotia currently run
similar programs in their libraries. Chirila
approached university librarian Catherine Quinlan
about the possibility of launching something
similar at UBC.
Run from Nov. 24 to 28 to coincide with the
Food Bank's annual drive, all borrowers with
library fines could participate. For every
non-perishable food item donated, they got $2
waived from their existing fines, up to a maximum
of $20. All library cardholders were eligible,
whether they were students, staff, alumni, faculty,
or community members.
"People were really enthusiastic," says assistant
university librarian Tim Atkinson, who
co-ordinated the drive at UBC Library's 15
branches. "Many brought in 10 items to qualify for
the $20 fine waiver and then donated more items
over and above that."
By the end of the five-day drive, the Food Bank
had 150 boxes of non-perishable items to pick up
from campus.
"The response was amazing. We even got a
donation mailed in from a student on Salt Spring
Island," Atkinson says. "The students loved it. The
staff loved it. Several staff members have
approached me to say they really hope we'll do it
again next year."
Chirila credits much of the success of Food for
Fines to timing. "It was the end of the year and
students thought it was a good way to pay off their
library fines and help the community at the same
She adds that the food drive helped to improve
students' attitudes about the Library.
"They saw it as a goodwill gesture and they
appreciated it." □ REPORTS       |      JANUARY
2 0 04      I      5
The Topic of Talk
UBC researcher takes note of how Western culture
manages conversations, by erica smishek
Couldn't get a word in edge-wise
during  some  of those  Christmas
cocktail parties?
Before you chalk it up to rudeness on the part of your conversational partners, you might want to
consider what  topics
were talked about,
how  much   you
knew       about
them        and
how   much
your own
c o n -
language   preferences   influenced
the interaction.
Caroline Rieger, an assistant
professor in UBC's department of
Central, Eastern and Northern
European Studies who teaches
German language
and applied lin
guistics, is studying factors that
have a significant effect on "topic
talk." Who determines or selects
the topic of a conversation? When
and how is a topic changed or
shifted? What influences how long
or if a person talks about a particu-
ar topic?
Rieger's   research   examines
topic   talk    in    bilinguals,
specifically   English   and
German speakers, and is
motivated        by        a
Japanese research
study of American and
Japanese  business   discourse. That study concluded   that   Westerners
take a greater proportion
of  turns   in   the
topics they initiate while
Japanese always
take          shorter
and    distribute
turns      evenly
regardless of who initiates a topic. Moreover,
Americans optimize the
strength    of   the   individual
while Japanese emphasize the
strength of the group.
"It might appear to be rudeness, of a person not taking
care of their conversational
partner," she says. "But for a
Westerner, it is quite natural
behaviour. In Western cultures,
other interactional and social
rules seem to guide topic man-
agement more than in Asian
"However, I found that
Westerners who initiate a topic do
not necessarily speak more about
it," Rieger explains. "Sometimes
topic initiation can be a request for
more information, an invitation to
tell a story or a question to get the
conversation started or moving in a
different direction.
"For example, ifyou ask someone
about their weekend or vacation,
they will have more to contribute
than the person who asked the question. They have the expertise on the
topic, so they will have more to
Rieger concludes that people in
Western cultures do not assume that
they have a right to talk more
because they initiated a topic. At
least they don't make regular use of
that right.
"You must look at the different
factors that guide conversation," she
says. "Topic expertise plays a major
role. There are also individual
variations and conversational styles.
Some people are wordier. Some are
more comfortable talking, some are
more comfortable listening.
Discourse type and individual
preferences in language also have a
significant effect on topic management, topic initiation and length of
contribution in conversations of
bilingual speakers."
Rieger analyzed 16 conversations
of    female    and    male    bilingual
speakers of German and English
and focused on topic initiation
and length of contribution in
topic talk. Each conversation was
videotaped, with the two
participants seated during the
"In German, we have an
expression called 'showing our
chocolate side,'" Rieger explains.
"It's essentially putting your best
face forward or being on your best
behavior. Like in a job interview
— you are conscious of your goals
at the beginning but eventually if
the interview is engaging you
forget about the impression you're
trying to make.
"Participants were a bit unnatural at first but they soon forgot
about the camera. I could tell
because many did not present their
chocolate side throughout the conversation. Instead they engaged in
the type of gossip you would not
want to see videotaped before they
returned to explore more significant topics. When a conversation
is engaging, it's engaging."
Rieger, who speaks
Letzebuergesch (spoken throughout Luxembourg), Italian, French,
German and English, worked in
public relations in Germany
before obtaining a PhD at the
University of Alberta. She joined
UBC in 2001.
She anticipates the results of her
study will be ready for publication
this summer. □
Mapping the Sixth Sense
Psychology's Ron Rensink discovers visual sensing without seeing
Most of us have felt it before — that
sinking feeling that something is
about to happen, that something is
not quite right. It's the stuff of scary
movies, X-Files episodes and psychic
But according to a new study by
Ron Rensink, an associate professor
in both psychology and computer
science at UBC, the "sixth sense" is
a distinct mode of visual perception
and may be something all of us can
learn to employ.
He calls  it  "mindsight"  — the
sequence, with a brief gray field
between successive images.
Participants were asked to hit a button when they saw a change.
But some participants asked if
they should hit the button when they
actually saw the change — or when
they first felt something happening.
Intrigued, Rensink re-jigged the
experiment. Forty participants were
instead asked to hit a button once
when they sensed a change — that
is, had a "feeling" that a change was
occurring  —  and   a   second   time
if light came into your eyes, it would
have to result in a picture. If it didn't
result in a picture, it must mean that
it can't be vision.
"What I'm saying is no, that first
assumption is wrong. Light can
come into your eyes and do other
things. There are other perceptual
systems and it can result in other
forms of experience. It's all vision —
it's just a different kind of vision.
There is nothing really magical
about it. It's just a different way of
perceiving, so it's a different kind of
A lot of people feel kind of threatened by this, by the idea that the conscious mind
is not necessarily the ultimate in terms of intelligence or control.
phenomenon where people can
sense a change but do not see it (i.e.
have a visual experience of it) for
several seconds.
"There is something there —
people do have access to this other
subsystem," says Rensink, whose
findings appear in the January issue
of Psychological Science.
"Vision is not just one ability, it's
not just one sense. There is vision for
conscious perception — this picture
you have of what's going on — and
there is also vision for action. It
turns out these are two very different
subsystems — one of them is
conscious, one of them is
non-conscious — and they actually
work slightly differently. That's why
when you're driving, for example,
you can actually tune out and you
can drive just fine because this other
system takes over."
In a preliminary experiment
initially designed to test attention,
Rensink presented participants with
a photograph of a real-world scene
and  a  modified  photograph  in   a
when they actually saw the change.
Most participants only saw the
change. But some sensed a change
two or three seconds before they
actually saw it.
"About a third of people seem to
get this feeling of something happening, of something changing," says
Rensink. "You can't really say what
it is, you can't really say when it is.
It's just a gut feeling . . . It's clear
whatever it is, they're using it in
their everyday experience."
A noted vision researcher,
Rensink spent six years at
Cambridge Basic Research, a partnership involving the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Harvard
and Nissan Motor Co. Prompted in
part by a finding that accidents in
city driving were often classified as
"driver looked but failed to see,"
he initially studied "change
blindness" (people's blindness to
scene changes) and later conducted
the experiments that were part of
the mindsight findings.
"In the past, people believed that
experience, which I think is actually
pretty cool. This is not magical."
But it is controversial.
"It's not going to make everybody
happy," he says matter-of-factly of
findings that took more than two
years — and significant verification
— to publish.
"A lot of people feel kind
of threatened by this, by the idea
that the conscious mind is not
necessarily the ultimate in terms of
intelligence or control. If you think
that the conscious mind is the
end-all and be-all, this kind of work
is disturbing."
Rensink says people need to trust
their gut instincts and believes we
can likely train ourselves to hone
"In the longer run, it's worth
taking a look at intuition to get more
insight into this area," he says.
"Maybe this will tend to lead people
to develop their intuitions and
realize that these intuitions are
informative and we should respect
them.   This   may   help   us   in   all
Noted vision researcher Ron Rensink has found visual link to intuition.
kinds of endeavours."
In practical terms, Rensink, who
is part of a team of UBC researchers
investigating the possibilities of
intelligent human-automobile interfaces, says if one can actually induce
this gut feeling, scientists may be
able to use it in cars as a kind of
"What you'd like is a way to say,
'slow down, or dangerous curve
ahead.' If you're getting a feeling
that something is not quite right,
this may in fact get people to be
more cautious."
He also thinks it could be applied
to  the  arts,  used  deliberately,  for
example, in the cinema to give the
audience an even "spookier movie
Rensink plans further analysis to
determine what may separate people
who have this sense from people
who don't. Is it a personality
variable? Is it attitude or mental set?
And what part of the brain is
"If people are capable of this, they
are probably capable of a lot more,"
he says. "We just don't know yet.
We'll see where it leads us in the
future. It could be the start of
something interesting — a whole
other way of using vision." □ 6     I
North Campus
North Campus Draft Neighbourhood Plan
UBC has prepared a Draft Neighbourhood Plan for the North Campus area.
North Campus is located north of Northwest Marine Drive and is surrounded by Pacific
Spirit Regional Park. The area includes lands from Green College to Norman MacKenzie
Attend the following Public Meeting and give us your feedback.
Monday, January 12, 2004 @ 7:00 pm in the Asian Centre Auditorium, 1871 West Mall.
Parking is available in the adjacent Fraser River Parkade.
Your group can request a special meeting before December 31 by contacting the
University Town inquiry line at 604.822.6400 or by emailing info.universitvtown@ubc.ca
For a map showing the location of the Asian Centre go to:
www.planning.ubc.ca/wayfinding/Finding/dbase.html and enter "Asian Centre" or cai
(604) 822-6400 for more information.
Background and information: www.universitvtown.ubc.ca
Linda Moore, Associate Director
External Affairs, University Town
Tel: 604.822.6400
Fax:        604.822.8102
email:    info.universitytown@ubc.ca
Not Lost in Translation
UBC Public Affairs has opened both a radio and TV studio on campus
where you can do live interviews with local, national and internationa
media outlets.
To learn more about being a UBC expert, call us at 604.822.2064 and
visit our web site at www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/experts/signup
continued from page 1
stories to photographs.
"Students love it," Harris says.
"They never know what's going to
happen next.
"Nobody grows up and says
'I'm going to be a subtitler.' It takes
awhile to get people up to speed.
You need to expose them to a lot of
stuff. Everything clicks at the end
of the semester."
Harris has a PhD in
Comparative Literature and a master's degree in Film Studies, reviews
films for the Georgia Straight and
has published poems, translations
and some 3,000 essays, articles and
reviews in more than 50 periodicals. He teaches film history and
theory and is the former programming director of the Pacific
Cinematheque, a not-for-profit
Vancouver-based society dedicated
to the understanding of film and
moving images.
In 1999, he did the titles for La
Cambrure, an Eric Rohmer short
subject presented at the Vancouver
International Film Festival, a project he calls the "launch pad" for
the subtitling course.
Hungarian-born translator
Karoly Sandor, 72, has taken the
course numerous times and has
known his instructor since Harris
was a PhD candidate at UBC.
"Mark Harris is a very gifted
person," says Sandor. "There is no
doubt that spending time in class
with Harris gives you so much
information that you want to
know. You're prompted to read,
you're prompted to go to movies,
you're prompted to fulfill your
potential as a human being. I see
my young classmates and they are
under a spell."
Harris' own fascination with
subtitling began as a student in one
of UBC creative writing Prof.
George McWhirter's translation
courses. He was appalled by what
gets missed when a film is subtitled
from one language into another,
pointing to a three-minute
sequence of dialogue from Fritz
Lang's M that was reduced to one
line — 'I can't help myself.'
"Subtitles can be wretched,"
Harris says. "It's usually due to
speed or cheapness, not
His favourite bad examples
come from English-language versions of Hong Kong films from the
"They are missing verbs and are
non-grammatical. The best line
was one that said, 'suck the coffin
mushroom now.'"
It all comes down to translation,
which Sandor calls "the furnace
before you bake the bread of subtitling.
"If the world didn't have translation," Sandor says, "we wouldn't
know Dostoevsky or Chekhov,
we'd only know Shakespeare in
English, we wouldn't know
Newton or Einstein. Translation is
the key to the vault of treasures of
others. That's how we share. That's
how life becomes so much richer."
While definite mechanical rules
apply (subtitles usually contain 40
to 45 characters per three-second
burst of film time, for example),
Harris' broader goal is to help students overcome such challenges as
"explosion of talk" (very wordy
dialogue, often containing plot
information), historical inaccuracy,
impenetrable slang, nuance of the
particular genre (comedy, drama,
action, etc.) and idiom, and to
inspire them to create subtitled
works that may be even better than
the original language versions.
"I want us to participate in creating a universe where you can see
Indonesian flying head movies on
channel 123," says Harris.
Look out Jack Valenti. □
Bosch & Other Earthly Delights
The difference between
good and exceptional is
in the standards one
sets. Bosch appliances
and kohler faucets and
fixtures are indications
of what to expect in your new home at chancellor
House. Every surface, every feature and every little nuance
of Chancellor House is far above what most would call
standard, but, it is no less than you would expect.
And with only a few homes remaining, do you really want
to settle for less than your own exacting standards?
Only 6 apartment homes priced from $439,900.
Stop by our Discovery Centre at 1715 Theology Mall
(at Chancellor Blvd)
Open noon til 5pm daily (except Fridays)
or call 604.228.8100
2 0 04      I      7
Dying Patients Don't Want
to be Stoned &
Most want pain relief, not a marijuana high, by Hilary Thomson
Retiring Within 5 Years?
Imagine you are dying a slow,  painful  death  and
someone offers you marijuana to relieve your pain. How
quickly would you take it?
Not so quickly, according to a study done by
palliative care expert Romayne Gallagher. Almost 70
palliative care patients were asked about their
attitudes and beliefs surrounding medicinal use of
marijuana. Gallagher and fellow researchers from the BC
Cancer Agency and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority,
VGH site, found the patients had a variety of worries and
"These individuals had some real concerns about using
the drug — concerns that were surprising considering
these people were at the end of their life," says Gallagher,
a clinical professor in the Faculty of Medicine's division of
palliative care.
Marijuana has been available for medical use in Canada
since July 2001 when Health Canada implemented the
Marijuana Medical Access Regulations. A doctor's
recommendation allows patients to obtain and use
marijuana without prosecution.
Participants in the study — conducted at cancer centres
and palliative care units in Vancouver and Kelowna —
worried that smoking would result in lung problems, that
second-hand smoke would harm their families' health and
that they might become addicted to the drug.
Gallagher says both patients and doctors often need to
be convinced of the value and safety of readily available
pain-relieving drugs such as morphine. Some current
attitudes mirror beliefs held decades ago. An article from
the 1941 journal of the American Medical Association
states that, "The use of narcotics in terminal cancer is to
be condemned if it can possibly be avoided ... It is well
known that small, regularly administered doses may be
counted on to cause and maintain addiction . . . ."
Many study participants believed that marijuana is safer
than morphine. In reality, says Gallagher, both drugs are
safe if used responsibly. Most participants don't want to
smoke the drug and they don't want marijuana's side
"They want pain relief — they don't want to be
stoned," says Gallagher.
Study participants — whose average age was 56 — also
had social concerns about using marijuana. Some,
particularly Asian patients, were afraid of neighbours and
police finding out.
"It was disturbing to find that most of these patients
were willing to try marijuana despite their concerns and
lack of information," she says. "They are a very vulnerable population and eager to use whatever works. The only
problem is, we don't have clear evidence about how marijuana does work to treat symptoms in dying people."
In addition to a lack of clinical research information,
there are significant obstacles in obtaining the drug. Few
dying patients have the energy to start their own grow-op.
Buying from suppliers, such as compassion clubs
established to distribute marijuana for medical use, can
cost up to several hundred dollars per month.
Russell Barth, a 34-year-old who takes marijuana for
chronic pain and anxiety, reports it took nine months to
get the necessary forms processed so that he could obtain
and possess the drug. One of the co-founders of the
National Compassion Society in Ottawa, he turned to
marijuana because he could not tolerate the pharmaceuticals prescribed to him. His roommate uses the drug to help
control epilepsy. Together, they have spent up to $500 per
month on medical marijuana.
"It's not an easy drug to use — it's expensive and there's
a lot of bureaucracy involved to get it. Health Canada
offers marijuana for slightly less money, but it's poor
quality and contains chemicals."
In addition to financial barriers to using the drug, there
are medical issues to consider. Marijuana interacts
negatively with drugs that slow down the central nervous
system, including sleeping pills, some pain medications,
antihistamines and seizure medications as well as antiviral
drugs used to treat AIDS.
Gallagher points out that there have been no clinical
trials of marijuana in Canada, leaving patients pretty much
on their own to determine what works for them. She
would like to see Canada learn from other countries, such
as the U.K., which is conducting large marijuana trials.
In the largest investigation ever done on the treatment of
multiple sclerosis, U.K. researchers recently studied
marijuana use in more that 600 patients and found that
although the drug had no significant effect on muscle
spasticity (according to an independent assessment scale)
the majority of patients felt it had reduced spasticity
symptoms and pain. There was also some evidence that
marijuana treatment led to improved mobility.
Gallagher would also like to see regulated prescriptions,
a standardized route of administration and dosage, and
pharamacare coverage of the marijuana pill as a
recognized pain reliever.
Pharmacare covers drugs approved for prescription use
by Health Canada. A whole-cannabis preparation called
Sativex is currently going through the approval process in
the U.K., which may lead to approval in Canada,
according to Dr. David Hadorn, who has served as a
consultant to the B.C. Pharmacare program.
If Health Canada does approve the drug, Pharmacare
would then decide if it should be subsidized and what
restrictions, if any, should be placed on the subsidies.
For more information about the medical use of
marijuana, visit Health Canada's website at
www.hc-sc.gc.ca. □
41               Wr
At UBC's first convocation in
1912, Henry Esson Young, B.C.'s
minister of education from 1907
to 1916 was dubbed "the Father
of  the   University"   for   all   his
unflagging   zeal   in   setting   the
university   on   its   way.   In   his
remarks at that ceremony he said
that he, "was sure that, no matter
what   government  might   be   in
control   of   the   affairs   of   the
province,   the   university  would
always  receive   sympathetic  and
generous consideration." □
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Mangement Ltd.
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"Frank and Don made me feel very comfortable with their advice and
long range planning. Their knowledge of the faculty pension plan is
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Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC
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Email: mediagrp@interchange.ubc.ca
www.mediagroup.ubc.ca REPORTS      |      JANUARY
Doctors and Nurses Need to Keep
Up with Genetic Training
Many now getting that information from newspapers
Your father and unci
died of a heart
you've    gone
doctor   to   find
you're at risk.
The    only
problem  is
—       your
doctor   doesn't know
much      more
than you do.
This see
nario is
all       too
common in Canada, according to a
study done by a group of
researchers led by Joan Bottorff, a
UBC professor of nursing and a
UBC Distinguished University
The team looked at the education needs and roles of practicing
doctors and nurses regarding genetic testing and diseases with a hereditary component. They polled more
than 1,400 doctors and the same
number of nurses across Canada to
investigate their knowledge,
involvement and confidence in
providing current and accurate
genetic information on diseases
such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer's and
Huntingdon's disease.
They found that 48 per cent
of nurses and 31 per cent of
doctors lacked formal education in
"Genetics is evolving rapidly and
many health practitioners are
struggling to keep up," says
Bottorff. "The need for information is becoming urgent as more
genetic tests and genetically tailored therapies become available."
The average age of the survey
respondents was 46 years for nurses and 48 years for physicians.
Educated before anyone had heard
about Dolly the cloned sheep, those
surveyed  indicated their main
sources of genetics information   were   newspapers   and
magazines, television, scientific journals and pam-
/  ~"X phlets and patients
with       genetic
With      data
gained from
these sources,
doctors and nurses work
on diet
and exercise plans to reduce their risk of
inherited illness and advise them on
genetic screening and testing,
family planning and other issues.
Bottorff says there's a pressing
need for combined professional
education programs for doctors
and nurses because their roles in
providing genetic information often
overlap. Challenges to providing
such programs include reaching out
to practitioners in rural areas and
keeping curricula up to date.
Bottorff and a group of provincial and national practitioners and
policy-makers will meet this month
to strategize how to develop
continuing education courses in
genetics. But the needs of practicing
doctors and nurses are not the only
concern. Genetics is not consistently integrated into nursing and
medical curricula and few nursing
faculty members are qualified to
teach the subject.
"Are we preparing practitioners
for the future? That's the question,"
says Bottorff. Her vision for genetics education includes basic information that can serve as a benchmark for all practitioners, modules
for nurses in advanced practice
such as cancer nursing and a separate stream of graduate nursing
education focused on genetics. □
Thousands of works of January 16,
fiction, criticism, drama, 10 am-4 pm
history, writing and more UBc Writing Centre
at 50<t and $1 Ponderosa Annex C, 2021 West Mall
Proceeds go to awards in the Writing Centre and the English Department
Writing Centre
Offering non-credit courses and services to the
university community and the general public
Academic Development Courses
• Preparation for University Writing and the LPI
• Advanced Composition
• Getting Ahead with Grammar
• Writing for Graduate Students
• Scientific Writing
Professional Development Courses
• Writing for Film and Television
• Freelance Article Writing
• Non-Fiction Book Writing
Personal and Creative Writing
• Journal Writing: A Voice of One's Own
• Writing Your Life's Story: Autobiography
• Writing Food
Continuing Studies
Robert Molday, a professor of biochemistry, molecular
biology and ophthalmology, has been awarded the Professor
Jacob Biely Faculty Research Prize, and zoology professor
Sarah Otto has received the UBC Charles A. McDowell Award
for Excellence in Research.
Molday, Canada Research Chair in Vision and Macular
Degeneration, studies the molecular, cellular and genetic
interplay that leads to disease affecting vision. He is an expert
on macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness in
the developed world.
Sarah Otto, zoology professor.
Robert Molday, professor of
biochemistry, molecular biology and
Otto is an expert in
population genetics and
evolutionary biology.
She develops and analyses mathematical
models to study how
populations change
over time to identify
when and whether particular evolutionary
transitions are possible.
Winners of the 2003
Killam Research Prizes
of $5,000 have also been announced: (in alphabetical order)
David Dreisinger, metals and materials engineering • Thomas
Grigliatti, zoology • Sneja Gunew, English • Darrin Lehman,
psychology • Maurice Levi, finance division, Sauder School of
Business • Bruce McManus, pathology and laboratory medicine
and iCAPTURE Centre • Tim Salcudean, electrical and computer
engineering and Canada Research Chair in Intelligent Computer
Interface Design • John Willinsky, language and literacy education
• Michael Wolf, chemistry •  Sheila Woody, psychology.
The Biely and McDowell awards are named for former UBC
researchers. Prof. Emeritus Charles McDowell headed UBC's
chemistry department for 26 years. Biely, an international poultry
scientist, was a UBC faculty member from 1935-68. He died in
1981. □
Hello Everyone,
Hope you're doing well back in Vancouver.
I have to say that I'm really enjoying
myself here in Oxford — a.k.a. land of
"dreaming spires."
I've met so many wonderful people. The
Canadian Rhodes Scholars are a fantastic
group — we got along so well right from
the start. I've met so many people from all
around the world — the graduate community is very international — and it's been
fantastic to hear about all of their
experiences and their future plans.
I'm currently in the one-year master's
course in the English department focussing
on 20th century literature and I'll be
writing a dissertation on African literature.
My class consists mostly of Americans,
with a spattering of Brits and me the lonely
Back in October I became an official
member of the University through the much
talked about matriculation ceremony . . .
some of which is in Latin. We all dressed up
in black and white with black gowns and
got to walk through the city like a group of
lemmings. There were so many tourists at
the Sheldonian Theatre taking pictures of
us. It was quite amusing to have strangers
from different parts of the world asking us
to pose for their cameras!
The most interesting thing that has
happened during my time here is the trip
by all current Rhodes Scholars at Oxford
to Buckingham Palace! The Queen and
Prince Philip hosted a reception in our
honour (as 2003 was the 100th anniversary
of the scholarship). We were all presented
individually to the queen and prince. And
to top off the evening, Nelson Mandela
was in attendance! I wasn't fortunate
enough to speak to him, but the fact that
he was able to take the time to come to
such an event and speak with even a few
of us was wonderful. The Mandela Rhodes
Trust has just been founded and it is
preparing initiatives on behalf of Nelson
Mandela in South Africa.
I've made several attempts while here
to try very Oxonian and British things —
yes Oxonian is a real word! I've been
punting down the Thames, have walked
through many meadows, experienced the
joys of the British rail system, have been
to the Cotswolds, have had Yorkshire
pudding, and am rowing with my college.
Rowing has been great fun. During seventh
week (Oxford-speak for the seventh week
of Michaelmas (first) term) all of the college
boat clubs raced in the Christ Church
Regatta, an event held for the College
novice crews. It was a wonderful
opportunity to watch some great races and
see College spirit (and rivalry) at its best.
Well, the term is winding down meaning
that deadlines call so I must go.
I will talk to you soon!
All the best and take care,


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