Berkeley in the News is a daily selection of articles and commentaries in the news media that mention UC Berkeley. The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
1. Berkeley in the News will take a break November 27 and 28, in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. Publication will resume on December 1.
2. Rickshaw research reveals extreme Delhi pollution
San Francisco Chronicle
A team including alumus Joshua Apte, a postdoctoral fellow in environmental energy technologies at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, conducted an air pollution monitoring project in the back of a three-wheeled rickshaw in New Delhi, and the findings are alarming. The numbers collected are significantly worse than the ones that already earned Delhi the World Health Organization's designation as the world's most polluted city. Depending on the pollutant measured, average levels were as much as eight times higher on the road than they were in urban background readings. Apte notes: "Official air quality monitors tend to be located away from roads, on top of buildings, and that's not where most people spend most of their time. ... In fact, most people spend a lot of time in traffic in India. Sometimes one, two, three hours a day." This story also appeared in The Hindhu and South China Morning Post. Another story appeared in Motoroids.
3. The Search for Dark Energy Just Got Easier
A new algorithm developed collaboratively at UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is expected to make the quest for an explanation of the universe's accelerated expansion significantly easier. According to graduate astronomy student Danny Goldstein, who developed the code to automate the process of supernova discovery on DES images, "Our algorithm can classify a detection of a supernova candidate in about 0.01 seconds, whereas an experienced human scanner can take several seconds.”
4. DARPA cuts $15.5M check for edgy semiconductor development
With the goal of keeping the US at the cutting edge of semiconductor research and development, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a $15.5 million award to the Microelectronics Advanced Research Corporation (MARCO). MARCO is part of STARnet, a nationwide network of university research centers, which includes UC Berkeley. Each of the universities has a focus, and Berkeley's pertains to technology that could be the backbone for distributed computing across smart cities.
5. The Unknown Start-up That Built Google’s First Self-Driving Car
When alumnus Anthony Levandowski was working on his industrial engineering and operations research master's at Berkeley in 2005, he participated in the DARPA Grand Challenge, a competition in autonomous-driving. The vehicle he co-developed was a self-driving 90-cc motorcycle called Ghostrider. While his Ghostrider didn't win the challenge, the experience showed him what he wanted to do with his life. Now at Google, he is called in this article "the motivating force" behind the company's program to build a self-driving car.
6. Column: GOP ponders its next move in wake of Obama's immigration action
Los Angeles Times
President Obama's plan to temporarily stay deportations for roughly 4 million undocumented immigrants has elicited contrasting reactions from conservative and liberal jurists, and law professor John Yoo sits squarely on the conservative side, believing the move to be a dangerous, unconstitutional power grab. “Obama is flouting his fundamental duty, set out in Article II of the Constitution, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” he wrote in the National Review. The constitutional remedy, he said, would be “impeachment” — but that would be “self-destructive” for the GOP.
7. Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)
Dr. Denham Harman, an alumnus who developed the "Free Radical Theory of Aging" in 1954, has died at the age of 98. Dr. Harman developed the landmark theory while working as a research fellow at Berkeley, where he'd earned both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees, and it became a key aspect of research into cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes and Alzheimer's disease. Harvard professor David Sinclair says, "Dr. Harman is one of the most influential scientists of the past 50 years, bringing world-class science to what was once a backwater of biology." He added that the theory "is a cornerstone of the aging field."
8. A teacher’s guide to mentoring in STEM
Science News for Students
An article about STEM mentoring mentions that some students may benefit from having multiple mentors who attend to different aspects of a student's life. Berkeley researcher Melissa Wilson Sayres, of the Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genomics, says she had two professors in graduate school help her prepare for her first research job. The first she describes as her motivator -- someone who “believed” in her -- and the other was her “validating” mentor -- someone who “helped me to believe in myself.”
9. Forum with Michael Krasny: Fraternities Under Fire
James Stewart, current vice president and president-elect of external affairs for Berkeley's Interfraternity Council, joins a discussion of problems at fraternities around the country. He is a member of Alpha Tau Omega. Link to audio.
10. Bay Area Biz Talk Blog: Poor team, poor sales: Cal's Memorial Stadium premium seat dilemma (Infographic)
San Francisco Business Times Online (*requires registration)
Premium seats for football games at Memorial Stadium have not been selling as well as the campus hoped, so university officials have devised a new fundraising model to pay down debt on the new athlete training center and retrofitted stadium. According to John Wilton, Berkeley's vice chancellor for administration and finance, the new model targets 100 pledge seats a year and the sale of game tickets in new ways, including corporate bundles. It also includes an $18 million, 15-year field naming rights deal with San Francisco-based video game developer Kabam Inc., and the expansion of event marketing.
11. 'Sleepless' documentary is a real eye-opener
In a National Geographic Channel documentary, "Sleepless in America," airing on Sunday, Nov. 30, neuroscience and psychology professor Matthew Walker discusses research linking sleep deprivation to a host of health problems, including obesity, psychiatric disorders, and memory loss later in life. At the Television Critics Association this summer, he cited "technological invasions into the bedroom at night (and) longer commutes in the morning" as contributing factors to the epidemic of sleeplessness. "The idea of 'I'll sleep when I'm dead' is unfortunate," he said. "You'll be dead a lot quicker if you're not sleeping, and the quality of life you'll have while you're alive will be significantly worse."
12. :-o: The surprising power of emoticons
Psychology professor Dacher Keltner discusses his work with Facebook in developing a new array of animated emoticons, sometimes described as “emoji,” which can be used to express everything from “feeling anxious” to “indignant.” Noting that Facebook wants to find new ways of allowing users to communicate in non-verbal ways, he says: “The more individuals use emoticons, the more they’re likely to communicate with each other and respond to each other’s messages and replies.” Professor Keltner says that these experiments suggest that emoticons of the future could be even more elaborate. If they could capture our own appearance, body language or tone of voice somehow, perhaps we could create truly idiosyncratic emoticons tailored for use only by a given individual with their partner, family members or close friends.
13. Why Thankful People Are Happier And Healthier
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, science director of Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, describes being grateful as an act of savoring, or appreciating the positive attributes of something. She says that when you mentally savor the things for which you’re grateful, you can better understand them and use them as a point of connection, and then the act of giving thanks becomes more powerful. "We’ve kind of gotten used to those words -- thank you -- we say them when we don’t mean them, we say them in an obligatory kind of politeness way," she observes. "But when you really back it up with the narrative, with the details of what happened, how that other person is instrumental to what happened, and how it has really improved upon your life in that moment, you reawaken it. You bring something new to the equation for yourself and the other person, and yeah, it’s that much more powerful."