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									THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA                                                                                      V O L U M E 5 0 | N U M B E R 1 | J A N U A RY 8 , 2 0 0 4

                             UBC REPORTS
2 UBC in the News                        4 Rogues’ Galler y                     5 The Sixth Sense                       7 A Smoke before Dying                                              8 A Letter from Oxford

Getting the Small Picture
BioImaging facility sees it all.            BY M I C H E L L E C O O K

                                 Elaine Humphrey sees a lot of             the SARS virus, Humphrey says it
                                 strange things in her line of work,       wasn’t so menacing to look at, even
                                 but some of the requests she gets         when enlarged.
                                 are even stranger — like the time a          “It was just a blob with little blobs
                                 crew member on the X–Files called         around it,” says Humphrey. “Not
                                 to borrow some of Humphrey’s              nearly as gorgeous as the beautiful
                                 creepy “bug” photos to use in an          crystalline structures of marine
                                 episode of the popular sci–fi TV          viruses that are brought down from
                                 show.                                     [microbiology and immunology and
                                    Stranger still was the day a           marine biology professor Curtis]
                                 researcher from the Centre for            Suttle’s lab to be photographed.”
                                 Disease Control asked her if he              If Humphrey, who has a PhD in
could come to her offices to take some pictures of a new virus             oceanography, sounds like she’s
named SARS.                                                                seen it all, she probably has — at
   Fielding such diverse requests is all in a day’s work when you          least when it comes to the biological
run UBC’s BioImaging Facility, says Humphrey, the unit’s director          sciences research being done on
since 1996.                                                                campus.
   It’s the place where people go when they want to get a picture             Annually more than 650
— a really good picture — of what they’re studying. That includes          researchers use the facility. On a typ-
everything from viruses and bacteria to human brain tissue and             ical day, UBC’s star microbiologist
the body parts of all kinds of garden crawlers magnified to                Brett Finlay might drop by to do some
thousands of times their actual size.                                      work related to his research on the SARS
   The facility is tucked away, in classic horror movie fashion, in        vaccine or E. coli bacteria, or leading immu-
a remote basement corner of the BioSciences Building. But the              nologist Wilf Jefferies could book time to produce
strangest things in it are the images produced there with the help         images for his work to combat immune disorders. Outside users
of some of the most sophisticated microscopes, computers,                  — from biotech powerhouse QLT to local artisan cheese makers
scanners and other magnification and digital photo production              — also pay to use the equipment.
equipment on the market.                                                      Humphrey is quick to point out that research isn’t the facility’s

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   PHOTO: BAYNE STANLEY
   On the walls are close–ups — many of them taken by                      only function. She and her staff are just as likely to be found
Humphrey — of python–sized millipedes, tarantula fangs, and a              teaching a group of graduate students how to use the Cryo
centimetre–long poacher fish of dragon–like proportions. As for                                                        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 E R I C A S M I S H E K
                                                                                                                                                  Mark Harris more closely                Asian folklore, a vampire-like
                                                                                                                                                  resembles your big brother’s            creature who must feed on blood]
                                                                                                                                                  gentle, slightly disheveled best        movies? Why do we just get reruns
                                                                                                                                                  friend than a cultural warlord.         of Seinfeld or MASH?”
                                                                                                                                                     But word by word, line by line,         Quite clearly, the man loves
                                                                                                                                                  he is taking on Hollywood’s glob-       language and is fascinated by how
                                                                                                                                                  al domination of the creative mar-      words unite with pictures or
                                                                                                                                                  ketplace and injecting some much-       performance to create a rare slice
                                                                                                                                                  needed diversity into the films, tel-   of life shaped by country and cul-
                                                                                                                                                  evision, animation and even comic       ture. He wants to share that love
                                                                                                                                                  books available to Canadians.           with students and, in the process,
                                                                                                                                                     Harris is the originator, instruc-   develop a talent pool capable of
                                                                                                                                                  tor and inspirational guru behind       creating idiomatic Canadian
                                                                                                                                                  The Art of Subtitling, a unique         versions of foreign-language films.
                                                                                                                                                  course offered through UBC’s               “I want to open up people’s
                                                                                                                                                  Creative Writing program and            minds to different things,” Harris
                                                                                                                                                  thought to be the only one of its       says with enthusiasm and without
                                                                                                                                                  kind in Canada. Aimed at                arrogance.
                                                                                                                                                  filmmakers,           screenwriters,       Working in teams, language and
                                                                                                                                                  playwrights,       language      and    literature specialists are paired
                                                                                                                                                  comparative literature students,        with students who concentrate on
                                                                                                                                                  film scholars and freelance             screenwriting and film studies.
                                                                                                                                                  journalists, it explores one of the     They have the opportunity to study
                                                                                                                                                  most important if underrated            the script as it is rewritten into
                                                                                                                                                  motion picture arts.                    another language and to become
                                                                                                                                                     “I consider it a counter-attack      the writer or co-writer of select
                                                                                                                                                  to [Motion Picture Association of       scripts and scenes in English.
                                                                                                                                                  America President] Jack Valenti            In addition to subtitles for films,
                                                                                                                                                  and his desire to dominate the          students produce versions of comic
                                                                                                                           PHOTO: BAYNE STANLEY

                                                                                                                                                  world market with American              books, graphic novels, animation,
                                                                                                                                                  films,” Harris says. “I want to         TV-friendly plays and opera
                                                                                                                                                  have genuine globalism versus this      libretti. More unusual projects
                                                                                                                                                  phony globalism we have now.            have      included    an     entirely
                                                                                                                                                     “Why is it that with 150 chan-       new genre called photoroman,
                                                                                                                                                  nels, we can’t see Indonesian flying    which matches autobiographical
Mark Harris believes more — and better — subtitled films will enrich our culture and our lives.                                                   head [well known in Southeast                           continued on page 6
2 | ubc reports | january 8, 2004

                                                                         IN THE NEWS
                                         Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in December 2003.                                                   C O M P I L E D BY B R I A N L I N

                                    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

                                                                             PHOTO: BAYNE STANLEY
                                       “This is not a long, slow,
                                    methodical work-it-out type (of)
                                    vaccine,” Finlay told,
                                    adding that his group is trying to
                                    parlay $2.6 million Cdn into a
                                    usable vaccine in an unprecedented                              More and more U.S. students are coming to Canada for quality post–secondary education.
                                    two years — a process that nor-
                                    mally takes a decade and at least
                                    $200 million Cdn.                                               the new technology with a heavy              during surgery.
                                                                                                    advertising blitz that combines cute            “It was completely uncharted,”
                                    Seeking Ivy Amid the Maple                                      with sexual innuendo.                        Penhale told The Globe and Mail.
                                    The number of American universi-                                   Using sex “can be very effec-             Already, a doctor in Europe is
                                    ty students in Canada has nearly                                tive,” UBC marketing professor               using a three-dimensional comput-
                                    doubled in the last five years, to                              Darren Dahl told The Globe and               er model based on Penhale’s
                                    more than 4,200 this year, reports                              Mail.                                        findings as an educational tool.
                                    the Los Angeles Times.                                             “It certainly attracts attention,”
                                      Three leading Canadian schools                                said Dahl, who is researching sexu-          Hockey and Opera Collide on
                                    — UBC in Vancouver, the                                         al themes in advertising. “That’s            ‘Opera Night in Canada’
                                    University of Toronto and Queens                                the first goal of advertising, to            The UBC Opera Ensemble is using
                                    University in Kingston, — have                                  break through the clutter.”                  Canada’s favourite sport to intro-
                                    drawn more Americans by recruit-                                   Still, he says, the situation is a        duce school children to the opera.
                                    ing jointly in the United States,                               “bit tricky. With concerns of priva-            Dressed in red practice jerseys,
                                    calling their group “Canadian Ivy.”                             cy with these types of phones, it’s a        the ensemble emerge onstage to the
                                      Donald Wehrung, a UBC                                         tough balancing act.”                        Hockey Night in Canada theme
                                    professor who directs international                                                                          song. The front of their jerseys
                                    recruiting for the school, said the                             S&P Affirms UBC ‘AA–’                        show a treble clef while on the
                                    number of U.S. undergraduates at                                Ratings                                      back, instead of surnames, appear
                                    UBC has more than tripled in five                               Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services           each “player’s” voice name:
                                    years, to 241 students in the last                              has affirmed its ‘AA–’ long-term             soprano, mezzo, tenor and
                                    school year.                                                    issuer credit and senior unsecured           baritone. The performance consists
                                                                                                    debt ratings on UBC, reports                 of excerpts from famous operas.
                                    Anorexia may Cause                                                                         The goal is to show kids that
                                    Emphysema                                                          The ratings on UBC reflect the            singing opera can be a job, just like
                                    The malnutrition that results from                              university’s status as a flagship            playing hockey, co-creator and
                                    anorexia may cause emphysema,                                   university in British Columbia and           soprano Shauna Martin told the
                                    UBC radiology professor Harvey                                  its broad course range with high             CBC. She hopes that giving
                                    Coxon told CBS News.                                            academic standards.                          children this early taste will help
                                       Coxon and colleagues used a                                     The ratings also reflect UBC’s            open their minds to opera when
                                    new method of assessing computed                                strong and growing research capa-            they get older.
                                    tomography scans to analyze the                                 bility, together with significant
                                    lungs of 14 anorexia patients and                               endowment income that diversify              Why Abused Women Take it
                                    found the malnutrition in these                                 the university’s revenue sources.            UBC professor Mary Russell has
                                    patients changed the physical                                                                                spent the last 15 years trying to
                                    structure of their lungs.                                       Paving the Way for Female                    figure out why women become
                                       “There is a reduction in the                                 Viagra                                       locked in abusive relationships. She
                                    amount of lung tissue in patients                               UBC master’s student Shona                   now believes she has the key.
                                    with anorexia nervosa,” says                                    Penhale has boldly gone where no                Along with obvious factors such
                                    Coxson, who is also an investiga-                               scientist has gone before — and              as financial hardship and fear of
                                    tor at Vancouver Coastal Health                                 mapped the previously unidentified           reprisals, women stay because of
                                    Research Institute at Vancouver                                 nerves that cause sexual pleasure in         their beliefs about relationships,
                                    General Hospital.                                               women.                                       Russell told the Vancouver Sun.
                                       “It is unclear whether these                                    Penhale has unravelled the mys-              “Belief systems are critical, they
                                    structural changes are permanent,                               terious conduits of nerves that lace         underlie everything,” said Russell,
                                    but if they are, early therapy is                               through a mere — but critical —              who found those who abuse their
                                    important in patients who have                                  eight centimetres of the vagina.             partners believe they are superior,
                                    anorexia.”                                                         The results could provide vital           deserving, and the centre of their
                                                                                                    information about female sexual              lives.
                                    Sexing up Cellphone Ads                                         dysfunction, may lead to a viable               Abused women also often feel
                                    Mobile phones with cameras are                                  Viagra for women and could help              they can’t manage on their own,
                                    quickly catching on in Canada —                                 surgeons avoid damaging crucial              and are convinced their partner
                                    and Telus Mobility has seized on                                pleasure–carrying nerve pathways             comes first, Russell added. ■

                                                                     UBC REPORTS
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                                                                                                                                                                               ubc reports | january 8, 2004 | 3

Health Students Fan Out Across B.C.
Program the first of its kind in Canada.                    BY H I L A R Y T H O M S O N

For the past four years, Monika            ate professor of family practice, to        of Fruitvale, population 2,000.
Milewski has been pursuing a degree        Kingcome, a remote village 290 km              “In a small, isolated community the
in nursing — sitting in campus lecture     northeast of Vancouver.                     dynamic is totally different than in the
halls, tutorials, labs and study groups       While there, they completed an           city. The responsibilities of the practi-
with other nursing students and            on-the-spot assessment for several          tioners are much greater,” says Suttie.
faculty.                                   patients with diabetes and other            “I’d like to see first-hand how the               Here is the perfect alternative for a stay in Vancouver. Surrounded by the
   That all changed last summer.           health problems.                            health-care community interacts                   spectacular beauty of the UBC campus, our fully-equipped, quality suites
That’s when she got involved in the           “The patients were delighted to get      within a rural community.”                        offer convenience and comfort for visiting lecturers, professors, family,
Interprofessional Rural Program of         attention they would not otherwise             Students work side by side and
                                                                                                                                         friends or anyone who wants to stay on Vancouver’s west side. Close to
BC (IRPbc) and found herself               have received,” says Avery, who             learn from and about each other. They
                                                                                                                                         restaurants and recreation both on and off campus, and only 20 minutes
working in a small hospital in Bella
Coola on B.C.’s west coast, part of a                                                                                                    from downtown Vancouver, the West Coast Suites is a wonderful retreat from
team of students in disciplines that                                                                                                     which to visit friends or make your stay on business a pleasure.
included medicine, occupational
therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy                                                                                                                           w w w. w e s t c o a s t s u i t e s . c o m
and social work.                                                                                                                                    Reservations Tel 604 822 1000 Fax 604 822 1001
   The first program of its kind in                                                                                                               5961 Student Union Boulevard Vancouver BC V6T 2C9
Canada, the IRPbc seeks to improve
health-science students’ capacity to                                                                                                                                                                         Open Year-Round
collaborate in patient care.                                                                                                                                                                                 Convenient On-Campus Location
   “I was motivated by being with                                                                                                                                                                            An Affordable,
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Fully-Equipped Suite
other IRPbc students interested in                                                                                                                                                                           Right on Campus
working with the same population
that I was,” says Milewski, who has
                                                                                                                                                                     The Iona Building at Vancouver School of Theology on the UBC campus. Photo: Perry Danforth
returned to Bella Coola to fill a tem-
porary nursing position. “Besides
learning from the other students, I felt                                                                                              Stay, work and play
lucky to learn from nurses and other                                                                                                  In our forest by the sea. We offer the best range of affordable
health professionals experienced in                                                                                                   accommodation, meeting space and conference services in the
the field.”                                                                                                                           Lower Mainland. Come find out why.
   IRPbc        students       complete
placements of 4-12 weeks under the                                                                                          
supervision of a local health-care                                                                                                    5961 Student Union Boulevard
professional. Phase I of the program                                                                                                  Vancouver BC V6T 2C9
began in the summer of 2003 with           Health-care students are getting out of the classroom and into the B.C. countryside.
students working in Bella Coola and                                                                                                   Tel 604 822 1000
                                                                                                                                      Fax 604 822 1001
Hazelton and Port McNeill on               works in Port McNeill at the northern       spend a minimum of three hours per
                                                                                                                                      Group Sales and
Vancouver Island.                          end of Vancouver Island. “There is an       week with teammates discussing                 Conference Services
   “We’re trying to transform the          immediacy to these situations that          patients and diagnostic and treatment          Tel 604 822 1060
health-care system with this                                                                                                          Fax 604 822 1069
                                           allows for an enormous learning             issues    from     a     variety   of
program,” says Grant Charles,              potential. Students learn to think on       perspectives. They also learn how to
assistant professor at UBC’s School of     their feet and get on with the job          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         because if they don’t do it, no one will.   set team goals.
part of the IRPbc team. “We’re teach-      That’s the major value of rural                Medical student Naomi Dove says
ing students how to interact different-    teaching.”                                  that in addition to offering a greater
ly — how to understand patient care           Students also learn first-hand           understanding of the perspective and
from the perspective of other              about the primitive level of health         skills of other health-care profession-
                                                                                                                                       Vancouver’s Affordable and Most Accommodating Alternative
health-care providers. This type of        services in some parts of the province      als, the program “helped to make me         WEST COAST SUITES | THE GAGE TOWERS | THE RESIDENCES | PACIFIC SPIRIT HOSTEL | CONFERENCE SERVICES
program has never been done before.”       and what life is like in remote             aware of some of the misconceptions
   Kathy Copeman-Stewart, IRPbc            communities, he adds.                       existing between professions and the
program manager, advises that this            Before their placement, students are     limitations of my own profession.”
month, 18 students from seven              given a two-day orientation that looks         “It’s critical that one health-care
post–secondary institutions, including     at interactive behaviour, ability to        professional knows the responsibilities
10 fourth-year UBC students, will be       resolve conflicts within a group and        and competencies of the other,” says
going to the original sites and to Fort    learning how to work with aboriginal        John Gilbert, chair of IRPbc’s imple-
St. John in northeastern B.C. and Trail    communities.                                mentation          committee       and
in the southeast of the province. They        The placement curriculum also            principal of UBC’s College of Health
will work in teams at hospitals that       addresses the challenges of maintain-       Disciplines. “That way, no one falls
range in size from 15-80 beds.             ing personal and professional               between the cracks and the right hand
Activities include flying in to remote     boundaries in towns where everyone          has a pretty good idea what the left
communities with a visiting health         knows everyone and health-care              hand is doing.”
professional      and       shadowing      professionals are highly visible               IRPbc is overseen by the BC
health-care professionals.                 members of the community.                   Academic Health Council in partner-
   Students in occupational therapy           Pharmacy student Charlotte Suttie        ship with health authorities,
and physiotherapy took their first trip    will be working at Kootenay                 post-secondary institution and rural
in a helicopter to accompany Dr.           Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail,        communities, with support from the
Granger Avery, a UBC clinical associ-      about 15 minutes from her hometown          Ministry of Health Planning. ■
                                      4 | ubc reports | january 8, 2004

                                       a                                                                                                               Getting the Small
                                                                                                                                                       Picture                      continued from page 1

                                                                                                                                                      scanning electron microscope to         microscopes have telepresencing.
                                                                                                                                                      freeze and crack cells open for         This allows a graduate student
                                                                                                                                                      examination, or giving a group of       looking at a specimen in the lab to
                                                                                                                                                      mesmerized school children an           discuss it with their supervisor in
                                                                                                                                                      introductory course on using an         another location in real time using
                                                                                                                                                      electron microscope to do a little      an Internet connection.
                                                                                                                                                      forensic detective work.                   Humphrey is eagerly awaiting
                                                                                                                                                         “It’s exciting to look at viruses,   the arrival of a variable pressure
                                                                                                                                                      it’s exciting to look at tissue, or     SEM that can magnify wet materi-
                                                                                                                                                      inside a cell,” says the ebullient      als like wood and food samples.
                                                                                                                                                      Humphrey. “There’s so much              Also on her wish list is a 4D
                                                                                                                                                      inside a cell and when you look at      microscope (no one else in Canada
                                                                                                                                                      some of them you think ‘what on         has one) that would be able to col-
                                                                                                                                                      earth does that do?’                    lect a stack of images in seconds.
                                                                                                                                                         She adds that she wants students        With an infectious enthusiasm,
                                                                                                                                                      to feel the ‘wow’ factor of what’s      Humphrey says her main goal is to
                                                                                                                                                      possible with such high-tech            create a one-stop shop where all
                                                                                                                                                      equipment        without      feeling   users can get advice and access to
                                                                                                                                                      intimidated to use it.                  the equipment necessary to
                                                                                                                                                         The facility’s education and         produce the highest resolution
                                                                                                                                                      training component is important         images possible.
                                                                                                                                                      when you consider that the                 After all, says Humphrey, “a
                                                                                                                                                      microscopes in question don’t look      picture tells a thousand words.
                                                                                                                                                      anything like those clunky black        The SARS virus for instance, you
                                                                                                                                                      ones you used in high school            can tell people about it, over and
                                                                                                                                                      science class. Last year Humphrey       over, and about sequencing the
                                                                                                                                                      spent $2.25 million on new              genome, but if you can show them
                                                                                                                                                      instruments. One of those was the       a picture, that gets them
                                                                                                                                                      field emission scanning electron        interested.”
                                                                                                                                                      microscope (SEM). It fills an entire       The BioImaging Facility will be
                                                                                                                                                      room and can enlarge images             opening a second “branch” in the
                                                                                                                                                      500,000 times.                          basement of UBC’s soon-to-be
                                       b                                     c                                                                           Two of the facility’s electron       completed Life Sciences Centre. ■

                                                                                                                 Rogues’ Gallery —                  Take a gander at the gallery of images taken in the BioImaging facility.
                                                                                                                                                    Can you guess what the following specimens are?




            f. Sea horse.
            c. Tiger beetle head d. Butterfly wing. e. A parasitic hymenopteran wasp.
            a. A newly hatched poacher fish. b. Zoea, a crab larva which lives on plankton.

                                                                                                                      Overdue Book Fines Feed the Foodbank
                                                                                                                                      Food for Fines program a hit.             BY M I C H E L L E C O O K

                                                                                                                  The UBC Library collected more than 4,900 items         university librarian Tim Atkinson, who
                                                                                                                  for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank in November         co-ordinated the drive at UBC Library’s 15
                                                                                                                  — and waived just over $9,800 in fines — by             branches. “Many brought in 10 items to qualify for
                                                                                                                  asking library users to pay off their debts from        the $20 fine waiver and then donated more items
                                                                                                                  overdue books with food instead of cash.                over and above that.”
                                                                                                                     Called Food for Fines, the initiative was the           By the end of the five-day drive, the Food Bank
                                                                                                                  brainchild of AMS president Oana Chirila, who got       had 150 boxes of non-perishable items to pick up
                                                                                                                  the idea at a meeting of her counterparts from other    from campus.
                                                                                                                  Canadian universities. Queen’s University and              “The response was amazing. We even got a
                                                                                                                  all the universities in Nova Scotia currently run       donation mailed in from a student on Salt Spring
                                                                                                                  similar programs in their libraries. Chirila            Island,” Atkinson says. “The students loved it. The
                                                                                                                  approached university librarian Catherine Quinlan       staff loved it. Several staff members have
                                                                                                                  about the possibility of launching something            approached me to say they really hope we’ll do it
                                                                                                                  similar at UBC.                                         again next year.”
                                                                                                                     Run from Nov. 24 to 28 to coincide with the             Chirila credits much of the success of Food for
                                                                                                                  Food Bank’s annual drive, all borrowers with            Fines to timing. “It was the end of the year and
                                                                                                                  library fines could participate. For every              students thought it was a good way to pay off their
                                                                                                                  non-perishable food item donated, they got $2           library fines and help the community at the same
                                      The fourth Annual HSBC Basketball Classic tournament held its finals        waived from their existing fines, up to a maximum       time.”
                                      and award ceremony at UBC's War Memorial Gym on Dec. 6. For the             of $20. All library cardholders were eligible,             She adds that the food drive helped to improve
                                      first time, five First Nations teams representing three B.C. bands          whether they were students, staff, alumni, faculty,     students’ attitudes about the Library.
                                      participated in the unique exhibition games, where fifty-four $1,000        or community members.                                      “They saw it as a goodwill gesture and they
                                      scholarships were handed out to players for their sportsmanship and com-       “People were really enthusiastic,” says assistant    appreciated it.” ■
                                      munity service.
                                      Cheerleader Chelsea Mason(l to r), Tiffany Joseph of the Squamish
                                      Nation, Lonzell Webster, Sam Fashler and Marco Pasqua. ■
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ubc reports | january 8, 2004 | 5

   The Topic of Talk                                                                                                                                                         UBC researcher takes note of how Western culture
                                                                                                                                                                             manages conversations. BY E R I C A S M I S H E K

                             Couldn’t get a word in edge-wise       language preferences influenced           guistics, is studying factors that                        agement more than in Asian                               speakers of German and English
                             during some of those Christmas         the interaction.                          have a significant effect on “topic                       cultures.                                                and focused on topic initiation
                             cocktail parties?                        Caroline Rieger, an assistant           talk.” Who determines or selects                             “However,       I   found      that                   and length of contribution in
                                Before you chalk it up to rude-     professor in UBC’s department of          the topic of a conversation? When                         Westerners who initiate a topic do                       topic talk. Each conversation was
                             ness on the part of your conversa-     Central, Eastern and Northern             and how is a topic changed or                             not necessarily speak more about                         videotaped,      with    the     two
                             tional partners, you might want to     European Studies who teaches              shifted? What influences how long                         it,” Rieger explains. “Sometimes                         participants seated during the
                             consider what topics                   German       language                     or if a person talks about a particu-                     topic initiation can be a request for                    discussion.
                             were talked about,                     and applied lin-                          lar topic?                                                more information, an invitation to                          “In German, we have an
                             how much you                                                                             Rieger’s research examines                        tell a story or a question to get the                    expression called ‘showing our
                             knew      about                                                                           topic talk in bilinguals,                        conversation started or moving in a                      chocolate side,’” Rieger explains.
                             them      and                                                                                specifically English and                      different direction.                                     “It’s essentially putting your best
                             how much                                                                                       German speakers, and is                        “For example, if you ask someone                      face forward or being on your best
                             your own                                                                                        motivated       by     a                   about their weekend or vacation,                         behavior. Like in a job interview
                             c o n -                                                                                          Japanese      research                    they will have more to contribute                        — you are conscious of your goals
                             versa-                                                                                           study of American and                     than the person who asked the ques-                      at the beginning but eventually if
                             tional                                                                                          Japanese business dis-                     tion. They have the expertise on the                     the interview is engaging you
                             style                                                                                         course. That study con-                      topic, so they will have more to                         forget about the impression you’re
                             and                                                                                          cluded that Westerners                        offer.”                                                  trying to make.
                                                                                                                         take a greater proportion                         Rieger concludes that people in                          “Participants were a bit unnatu-
                                                                                                                                   of turns in the                      Western cultures do not assume that                      ral at first but they soon forgot
                                                                                                                                    topics they initi-                  they have a right to talk more                           about the camera. I could tell
                                                                                                                                    ate         while                   because they initiated a topic. At                       because many did not present their
                                                                                                                                    Japanese always                     least they don’t make regular use of                     chocolate side throughout the con-
                                                                                                                                   take       shorter                   that right.                                              versation. Instead they engaged in
                                                                                                                            turns and distribute                           “You must look at the different                       the type of gossip you would not
                                                                                                                            their    turns     evenly                   factors that guide conversation,” she                    want to see videotaped before they
                                                                                                                            regardless of who initi-                    says. “Topic expertise plays a major                     returned to explore more signifi-
                                                                                                                            ates a topic. Moreover,                     role. There are also individual                          cant topics. When a conversation
                                                                                                                            Americans optimize the                      variations and conversational styles.                    is engaging, it’s engaging.”
                                                                                                                    strength of the individual                          Some people are wordier. Some are                           Rieger,        who         speaks
                                                                                                                   while Japanese emphasize the                         more comfortable talking, some are                       Lëtzebuergesch (spoken through-

                                                                                                                   strength of the group.                               more       comfortable      listening.                   out Luxembourg), Italian, French,
                                                                                                                      “It might appear to be rude-                      Discourse type and individual                            German and English, worked in
                                                                                                                   ness, of a person not taking                         preferences in language also have a                      public relations in Germany
                                                                                                                   care of their conversational                         significant effect on topic manage-                      before obtaining a PhD at the
                                                                                                                  partner,” she says. “But for a                        ment, topic initiation and length of                     University of Alberta. She joined
                                                                                                                  Westerner, it is quite natural                        contribution in conversations of                         UBC in 2001.
                                                                                                                  behaviour. In Western cultures,                       bilingual speakers.”                                        She anticipates the results of her
                                                                                                                  other interactional and social                           Rieger analyzed 16 conversations                      study will be ready for publication
                                                                                                                  rules seem to guide topic man-                        of female and male bilingual                             this summer. ■

Mapping the Sixth Sense
Psychology’s Ron Rensink discovers visual sensing without seeing

                    Most of us have felt it before — that          sequence, with a brief gray field          if light came into your eyes, it would
                    sinking feeling that something is              between         successive    images.      have to result in a picture. If it didn’t
                    about to happen, that something is             Participants were asked to hit a but-      result in a picture, it must mean that
                    not quite right. It’s the stuff of scary       ton when they saw a change.                it can’t be vision.
                    movies, X-Files episodes and psychic              But some participants asked if              “What I’m saying is no, that first
                    visits.                                        they should hit the button when they       assumption is wrong. Light can
                       But according to a new study by             actually saw the change — or when          come into your eyes and do other
                    Ron Rensink, an associate professor            they first felt something happening.       things. There are other perceptual
                    in both psychology and computer                   Intrigued, Rensink re–jigged the        systems and it can result in other
                    science at UBC, the “sixth sense” is           experiment. Forty participants were        forms of experience. It’s all vision —
                    a distinct mode of visual perception           instead asked to hit a button once         it’s just a different kind of vision.
                    and may be something all of us can             when they sensed a change — that           There is nothing really magical
                    learn to employ.                               is, had a “feeling” that a change was      about it. It’s just a different way of
                       He calls it “mindsight” — the               occurring — and a second time              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.
                                                                                                                                                          PHOTO: SHARMINI THIAGARAJAH

                    phenomenon where people can                    when they actually saw the change.         experience, which I think is actually
                    sense a change but do not see it (i.e.            Most participants only saw the          pretty cool. This is not magical.”
                    have a visual experience of it) for            change. But some sensed a change              But it is controversial.
                    several seconds.                               two or three seconds before they              “It’s not going to make everybody
                       “There is something there —                 actually saw it.                           happy,” he says matter-of-factly of
                    people do have access to this other               “About a third of people seem to        findings that took more than two
                    subsystem,” says Rensink, whose                get this feeling of something happen-      years — and significant verification
                    findings appear in the January issue           ing, of something changing,” says          — to publish.
                    of Psychological Science.                      Rensink. “You can’t really say what           “A lot of people feel kind                                             Noted vision researcher Ron Rensink has found visual link to intuition.
                       “Vision is not just one ability, it’s       it is, you can’t really say when it is.    of threatened by this, by the idea
                    not just one sense. There is vision for        It’s just a gut feeling . . . It’s clear   that the conscious mind is not
                    conscious perception — this picture            whatever it is, they’re using it in        necessarily the ultimate in terms of                                      kinds of endeavours.”                    example, in the cinema to give the
                    you have of what’s going on — and              their everyday experience.”                intelligence or control. If you think                                        In practical terms, Rensink, who      audience an even “spookier movie
                    there is also vision for action. It               A noted vision researcher,              that the conscious mind is the                                            is part of a team of UBC researchers     experience.”
                    turns out these are two very different         Rensink spent six years at                 end-all and be-all, this kind of work                                     investigating the possibilities of          Rensink plans further analysis to
                    subsystems — one of them is                    Cambridge Basic Research, a part-          is disturbing.”                                                           intelligent human-automobile inter-      determine what may separate people
                    conscious, one of them is                      nership involving the Massachusetts           Rensink says people need to trust                                      faces, says if one can actually induce   who have this sense from people
                    non-conscious — and they actually              Institute of Technology, Harvard           their gut instincts and believes we                                       this gut feeling, scientists may be      who don’t. Is it a personality
                    work slightly differently. That’s why          and Nissan Motor Co. Prompted in           can likely train ourselves to hone                                        able to use it in cars as a kind of      variable? Is it attitude or mental set?
                    when you’re driving, for example,              part by a finding that accidents in        them.                                                                     warning.                                 And what part of the brain is
                    you can actually tune out and you              city driving were often classified as         “In the longer run, it’s worth                                            “What you’d like is a way to say,     responsible?
                    can drive just fine because this other         “driver looked but failed to see,”         taking a look at intuition to get more                                    ‘slow down, or dangerous curve              “If people are capable of this, they
                    system takes over.”                            he initially studied “change               insight into this area,” he says.                                         ahead.’ If you’re getting a feeling      are probably capable of a lot more,”
                       In a preliminary experiment                 blindness” (people’s blindness to          “Maybe this will tend to lead people                                      that something is not quite right,       he says. “We just don’t know yet.
                    initially designed to test attention,          scene changes) and later conducted         to develop their intuitions and                                           this may in fact get people to be        We’ll see where it leads us in the
                    Rensink presented participants with            the experiments that were part of          realize that these intuitions are                                         more cautious.”                          future. It could be the start of
                    a photograph of a real-world scene             the mindsight findings.                    informative and we should respect                                            He also thinks it could be applied    something interesting — a whole
                    and a modified photograph in a                    “In the past, people believed that      them. This may help us in all                                             to the arts, used deliberately, for      other way of using vision.” ■
6 | ubc reports | january 8, 2004

                                                                                                               Not Lost in Translation
                                                                                                               continued from page 1
                                                                                                               stories to photographs.                    gets missed when a film is subtitled
                                                                                                                  “Students love it,” Harris says.        from one language into another,
                                                                                                               “They never know what’s going to           pointing to a three-minute
                                                                                                               happen next.                               sequence of dialogue from Fritz
     North Campus Draft Neighbourhood Plan                                                                        “Nobody grows up and says               Lang’s M that was reduced to one
                                                                                                               ‘I’m going to be a subtitler.’ It takes    line — ‘I can’t help myself.’
     UBC has prepared a Draft Neighbourhood Plan for the North Campus area.                                    awhile to get people up to speed.             “Subtitles can be wretched,”
                                                                                                               You need to expose them to a lot of        Harris says. “It’s usually due to
     North Campus is located north of Northwest Marine Drive and is surrounded by Pacific
                                                                                                               stuff. Everything clicks at the end        speed       or   cheapness,      not
     Spirit Regional Park. The area includes lands from Green College to Norman MacKenzie
                                                                                                               of the semester.”                          incompetence.”
                                                                                                                  Harris     has     a    PhD       in       His favourite bad examples
     PLEASE JOIN US                                                                                            Comparative Literature and a mas-          come from English-language ver-
     Attend the following Public Meeting and give us your feedback.                                            ter’s degree in Film Studies, reviews      sions of Hong Kong films from the
                                                                                                               films for the Georgia Straight and         1980s.
                                                                                                               has published poems, translations             “They are missing verbs and are
     PUBLIC MEETING                                                                                            and some 3,000 essays, articles and        non-grammatical. The best line
     Monday, January 12, 2004 @ 7:00 pm in the Asian Centre Auditorium, 1871 West Mall.                        reviews in more than 50 periodi-           was one that said, ‘suck the coffin
     Parking is available in the adjacent Fraser River Parkade.                                                cals. He teaches film history and          mushroom now.’”
                                                                                                               theory and is the former program-             It all comes down to translation,
                                                                                                               ming director of the Pacific               which Sandor calls “the furnace
     SPECIAL MEETINGS                                                                                          Cinematheque, a not-for-profit             before you bake the bread of subti-
     Your group can request a special meeting before December 31 by contacting the
                                                                                                               Vancouver-based society dedicated          tling.
     University Town inquiry line at 604.822.6400 or by emailing
                                                                                                               to the understanding of film and              “If the world didn’t have transla-
                                                                                                               moving images.                             tion,” Sandor says, “we wouldn’t
     DIRECTIONS                                                                                                   In 1999, he did the titles for La       know Dostoevsky or Chekhov,
     For a map showing the location of the Asian Centre go to:                                                 Cambrure, an Eric Rohmer short             we’d only know Shakespeare in and enter “Asian Centre” or call                        subject presented at the Vancouver         English, we wouldn’t know
     (604) 822-6400 for more information.                                                                      International Film Festival, a proj-       Newton or Einstein. Translation is
                                                                                                               ect he calls the “launch pad” for          the key to the vault of treasures of
     INTERNET                                                                                                  the subtitling course.                     others. That’s how we share. That’s
     Background and information:                                                        Hungarian-born          translator      how life becomes so much richer.”
                                                                                                               Karoly Sandor, 72, has taken the              While definite mechanical rules
                                                                                                               course numerous times and has              apply (subtitles usually contain 40
                                                                                                               known his instructor since Harris          to 45 characters per three-second
     Linda Moore, Associate Director
     External Affairs, University Town                                                                         was a PhD candidate at UBC.                burst of film time, for example),
     Tel:     604.822.6400                                                                                        “Mark Harris is a very gifted           Harris’ broader goal is to help stu-
     Fax:     604.822.8102                                                                                     person,” says Sandor. “There is no         dents overcome such challenges as
     email:                                  UNIVERSITY TOWN                        doubt that spending time in class          “explosion of talk” (very wordy
                                                                                                               with Harris gives you so much              dialogue, often containing plot
                                                                                                               information that you want to               information), historical inaccuracy,
                                                                                                               know. You’re prompted to read,             impenetrable slang, nuance of the
                                                                                                               you’re prompted to go to movies,           particular genre (comedy, drama,
                                                                                                               you’re prompted to fulfill your            action, etc.) and idiom, and to
                                     UBC Public Affairs has opened both a radio and TV studio on campus        potential as a human being. I see          inspire them to create subtitled
                                     where you can do live interviews with local, national and international   my young classmates and they are           works that may be even better than
                                                                                                               under a spell.”
          NEWS TV | RADIO            media outlets.
                                                                                                                  Harris’ own fascination with
                                                                                                                                                          the original language versions.
                                                                                                                                                             “I want us to participate in cre-
                                     To learn more about being a UBC expert, call us at 604.822.2064 and
                                                                                                               subtitling began as a student in one       ating a universe where you can see
                                     visit our web site at
                                                                                                               of UBC creative writing Prof.              Indonesian flying head movies on
                                                                                                               George McWhirter’s translation             channel 123,” says Harris.
                                                                                                               courses. He was appalled by what              Look out Jack Valenti. ■

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                                                                                                                                                                         ubc reports | january 8, 2004 | 7

                                                                                                                                      Retiring Within 5 Years?
Dying Patients Don’t Want
to be Stoned                                                                                                                    Don Proteau
Most want pain relief, not a marijuana high.                     BY H I L A R Y T H O M S O N                                   B.Comm, CFP
                                                                                                                                Senior Financial Planner
                                                                                                                                Assante Financial                Complimentary consultations available for
Imagine you are dying a slow, painful death and                 there are significant obstacles in obtaining the drug. Few      Mangement Ltd.                   UBC Faculty and Staff
someone offers you marijuana to relieve your pain. How          dying patients have the energy to start their own grow-op.             Retirement and Estate planning
quickly would you take it?                                      Buying from suppliers, such as compassion clubs
                                                                                                                                                                 UBC pension expertise
   Not so quickly, according to a study done by                 established to distribute marijuana for medical use, can
palliative care expert Romayne Gallagher. Almost 70             cost up to several hundred dollars per month.                                                    References available
palliative care patients were asked about their                    Russell Barth, a 34-year-old who takes marijuana for                                       “I am completely satisfied with the service I am receiving from Don.”
attitudes and beliefs surrounding medicinal use of              chronic pain and anxiety, reports it took nine months to                                      M. Dale Kinkade,
marijuana. Gallagher and fellow researchers from the BC         get the necessary forms processed so that he could obtain                                     Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, UBC
Cancer Agency and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority,           and possess the drug. One of the co-founders of the                                           “Frank and Don made me feel very comfortable with their advice and
VGH site, found the patients had a variety of worries and       National Compassion Society in Ottawa, he turned to                                           long range planning. Their knowledge of the faculty pension plan is
                                                                                                                                                              also a plus for UBC professors.”
questions.                                                      marijuana because he could not tolerate the pharmaceuti-        Frank Danielson               Dr. J. H. McNeill,
   “These individuals had some real concerns about using        cals prescribed to him. His roommate uses the drug to help      B.Ed., CFP                    Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC
the drug — concerns that were surprising considering            control epilepsy. Together, they have spent up to $500 per      Senior Financial Planner
                                                                                                                                                              Call or e-mail today for a complimentary retirement analysis
these people were at the end of their life,” says Gallagher,    month on medical marijuana.                                     Assante Financial
                                                                                                                                Mangement Ltd.
a clinical professor in the Faculty of Medicine’s division of      “It’s not an easy drug to use — it’s expensive and there’s                                                      604-638-0335
palliative care.                                                a lot of bureaucracy involved to get it. Health Canada
   Marijuana has been available for medical use in Canada       offers marijuana for slightly less money, but it’s poor
since July 2001 when Health Canada implemented the              quality and contains chemicals.”
Marijuana Medical Access Regulations. A doctor’s                   In addition to financial barriers to using the drug, there        The Assante symbol is a registered trademark of Assante Corporation, used under license.

recommendation allows patients to obtain and use                are medical issues to consider. Marijuana interacts
marijuana without prosecution.                                  negatively with drugs that slow down the central nervous
   Participants in the study — conducted at cancer centres      system, including sleeping pills, some pain medications,
and palliative care units in Vancouver and Kelowna —            antihistamines and seizure medications as well as antiviral
worried that smoking would result in lung problems, that        drugs used to treat AIDS.
second-hand smoke would harm their families’ health and            Gallagher points out that there have been no clinical
that they might become addicted to the drug.                    trials of marijuana in Canada, leaving patients pretty much
   Gallagher says both patients and doctors often need to       on their own to determine what works for them. She
be convinced of the value and safety of readily available       would like to see Canada learn from other countries, such
pain-relieving drugs such as morphine. Some current             as the U.K., which is conducting large marijuana trials.
attitudes mirror beliefs held decades ago. An article from         In the largest investigation ever done on the treatment of
the 1941 Journal of the American Medical Association            multiple sclerosis, U.K. researchers recently studied
states that, “The use of narcotics in terminal cancer is to     marijuana use in more that 600 patients and found that
be condemned if it can possibly be avoided . . . It is well     although the drug had no significant effect on muscle
known that small, regularly administered doses may be           spasticity (according to an independent assessment scale)
counted on to cause and maintain addiction . . . .”             the majority of patients felt it had reduced spasticity
   Many study participants believed that marijuana is safer     symptoms and pain. There was also some evidence that
than morphine. In reality, says Gallagher, both drugs are       marijuana treatment led to improved mobility.
safe if used responsibly. Most participants don’t want to          Gallagher would also like to see regulated prescriptions,
smoke the drug and they don’t want marijuana’s side             a standardized route of administration and dosage, and
effects.                                                        pharamacare coverage of the marijuana pill as a
   “They want pain relief — they don’t want to be               recognized pain reliever.
stoned,” says Gallagher.                                           Pharmacare covers drugs approved for prescription use
   Study participants — whose average age was 56 — also         by Health Canada. A whole-cannabis preparation called
had social concerns about using marijuana. Some,                Sativex is currently going through the approval process in
particularly Asian patients, were afraid of neighbours and      the U.K., which may lead to approval in Canada,
police finding out.                                             according to Dr. David Hadorn, who has served as a
   “It was disturbing to find that most of these patients       consultant to the B.C. Pharmacare program.
were willing to try marijuana despite their concerns and           If Health Canada does approve the drug, Pharmacare
lack of information,” she says. “They are a very vulnera-       would then decide if it should be subsidized and what
ble population and eager to use whatever works. The only        restrictions, if any, should be placed on the subsidies.
problem is, we don’t have clear evidence about how mar-            For more information about the medical use of
ijuana does work to treat symptoms in dying people.”            marijuana, visit Health Canada’s website at
   In addition to a lack of clinical research information, ■

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                                                                                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.” ■
8 | ubc reports | january 8, 2003

Doctors and Nurses Need to Keep                                                                                                  kudos
    Up with Genetic Training                                                         Robert Molday, a professor of biochemistry, molecular
 Many now getting that information from newspapers                                   biology and ophthalmology, has been awarded the Professor
                                                                                     Jacob Biely Faculty Research Prize, and zoology professor
                        BY H I L A R Y T H O M S O N                                 Sarah Otto has received the UBC Charles A. McDowell Award
                                                                                     for Excellence in Research.
Your father and uncle both                   surveyed indicated their main             Molday, Canada Research Chair in Vision and Macular
died of a heart attack and                     sources of genetics informa-          Degeneration, studies the molecular, cellular and genetic
you’ve gone to your                            tion were newspapers and              interplay that leads to disease affecting vision. He is an expert
doctor to find out if                           magazines, television, scien-        on macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness in
you’re at risk.                                      tific journals and pam-         the developed world.
   The only                                               phlets and patients                                                   Otto is an expert in
problem is                                                    with      genetic                                              population genetics and
—       your                                                   disorders.                                                    evolutionary biology.
doctor does-                                                     With      data                                              She develops and analy-
n’t       know                                               gained       from                                               ses        mathematical
much       more                                              these     sources,                                              models to study how
than you do.                                                doctors and nurs-                                                populations       change
   This sce-                                                       es     work                                               over time to identify
nario is                                                              w i t h                                                when and whether par-
all     too                                                           patients                                               ticular     evolutionary
common in Canada, according to a                                      on diet                                                transitions are possible.   Sarah Otto, zoology professor.
study done by a group of                                          and exer-                                                     Winners of the 2003
researchers led by Joan Bottorff, a     cise plans to reduce their risk of                                                   Killam Research Prizes
UBC professor of nursing and a          inherited illness and advise them on                                                 of $5,000 have also been announced: (in alphabetical order)
UBC Distinguished University            genetic screening and testing,                                                          David Dreisinger, metals and materials engineering • Thomas
Scholar.                                family planning and other issues.                                                    Grigliatti, zoology • Sneja Gunew, English • Darrin Lehman,
   The team looked at the educa-           Bottorff says there’s a pressing                                                  psychology • Maurice Levi, finance division, Sauder School of
tion needs and roles of practicing      need for combined professional                                                       Business • Bruce McManus, pathology and laboratory medicine
doctors and nurses regarding genet-     education programs for doctors                                                       and iCAPTURE Centre • Tim Salcudean, electrical and computer
ic testing and diseases with a hered-   and nurses because their roles in                                                    engineering and Canada Research Chair in Intelligent Computer
itary component. They polled more       providing genetic information often                                                  Interface Design • John Willinsky, language and literacy education
than 1,400 doctors and the same         overlap. Challenges to providing                                                     • Michael Wolf, chemistry • Sheila Woody, psychology.
number of nurses across Canada to       such programs include reaching out                                                      The Biely and McDowell awards are named for former UBC
investigate     their    knowledge,     to practitioners in rural areas and                                                  researchers. Prof. Emeritus Charles McDowell headed UBC’s
involvement and confidence in           keeping curricula up to date.                                                        chemistry department for 26 years. Biely, an international poultry
providing current and accurate             Bottorff and a group of provin-        Robert Molday, professor of                scientist, was a UBC faculty member from 1935-68. He died in
                                        cial and national practitioners and       biochemistry, molecular biology and        1981. ■
genetic information on diseases
such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovas-    policy-makers will meet this month
cular disease and neurodegenera-        to strategize how to develop
tive illnesses like Alzheimer’s and     continuing education courses in
Huntingdon’s disease.                   genetics. But the needs of practicing
   They found that 48 per cent
of nurses and 31 per cent of
                                        doctors and nurses are not the only
                                        concern. Genetics is not consistent-      LETTER from OXFORD
doctors lacked formal education in      ly integrated into nursing and
genetics.                               medical curricula and few nursing
   “Genetics is evolving rapidly and    faculty members are qualified to
many health practitioners are           teach the subject.
struggling to keep up,” says               “Are we preparing practitioners
Bottorff. “The need for informa-        for the future? That’s the question,”
tion is becoming urgent as more         says Bottorff. Her vision for genet-
genetic tests and genetically tai-      ics education includes basic infor-
lored therapies become available.”      mation that can serve as a bench-
   The average age of the survey        mark for all practitioners, modules
respondents was 46 years for nurs-      for nurses in advanced practice
es and 48 years for physicians.         such as cancer nursing and a sepa-
Educated before anyone had heard        rate stream of graduate nursing
about Dolly the cloned sheep, those     education focused on genetics. ■
                                                                                                          PHOTO: BAYNE STANLEY

                                                                                                                                 Ed.’s Note: UBC’s most recent Rhodes Scholar Yaa Heema
                                                                                                                                             Obiri-Yeboah sent us this letter from Oxford.

                                                                                     Hello Everyone,

                                                                                     Hope you’re doing well back in Vancouver.              Prince Philip hosted a reception in our
                                                                                       I have to say that I’m really enjoying               honour (as 2003 was the 100th anniversary
                                                                                     myself here in Oxford — a.k.a. land of                 of the scholarship). We were all presented
                                                                                     “dreaming spires.”                                     individually to the queen and prince. And
                                                                                       I’ve met so many wonderful people. The               to top off the evening, Nelson Mandela
                                                                                     Canadian Rhodes Scholars are a fantastic               was in attendance! I wasn’t fortunate
                                                                                     group — we got along so well right from                enough to speak to him, but the fact that
                                                                                     the start. I’ve met so many people from all            he was able to take the time to come to
                                                                                     around the world — the graduate communi-               such an event and speak with even a few
                                                                                     ty is very international — and it’s been               of us was wonderful. The Mandela Rhodes
                                                                                     fantastic to hear about all of their                   Trust has just been founded and it is
                                                                                     experiences and their future plans.                    preparing initiatives on behalf of Nelson
                                                                                       I’m currently in the one-year master’s               Mandela in South Africa.
                                                                                     course in the English department focussing               I’ve made several attempts while here
                                                                                     on 20th century literature and I’ll be                 to try very Oxonian and British things —
                                                                                     writing a dissertation on African literature.          yes Oxonian is a real word! I’ve been
                                                                                     My class consists mostly of Americans,                 punting down the Thames, have walked
                                                                                     with a spattering of Brits and me the lonely           through many meadows, experienced the
                                                                                     Canadian!                                              joys of the British rail system, have been
                                                                                       Back in October I became an official                 to the Cotswolds, have had Yorkshire
                                                                                     member of the University through the much              pudding, and am rowing with my college.
                                                                                     talked about matriculation ceremony . . .              Rowing has been great fun. During seventh
                                                                                     some of which is in Latin. We all dressed up           week (Oxford-speak for the seventh week
                                                                                     in black and white with black gowns and                of Michaelmas (first) term) all of the college
                                                                                     got to walk through the city like a group of           boat clubs raced in the Christ Church
                                                                                     lemmings. There were so many tourists at               Regatta, an event held for the College
                                                                                     the Sheldonian Theatre taking pictures of              novice crews. It was a wonderful
                                                                                     us. It was quite amusing to have strangers             opportunity to watch some great races and
                                                                                     from different parts of the world asking us            see College spirit (and rivalry) at its best.
                                                                                     to pose for their cameras!                               Well, the term is winding down meaning
                                                                                       The most interesting thing that has                  that deadlines call so I must go.
                                                                                     happened during my time here is the trip               I will talk to you soon!
                                                                                     by all current Rhodes Scholars at Oxford               All the best and take care,
                                                                                     to Buckingham Palace! The Queen and                    Yaa-Hemaa

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