Berkeley in the News Archive

The links to the stories summarized on this page are time sensitive, so stories might no longer be online at that URL. We also include links to the original source publication itself.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

1. Y chromosome is not doomed to shrivel away to nothing, say researchers
The Guardian (UK)

A study led by postdoctoral evolutionary geneticist Melissa Wilson Sayres has dispelled theories that the Y chromosome, which has lost more than 90% of its genes over millions of years of evolution, is doomed to extinction. She says her team has concluded: "Natural selection is acting on the Y chromosome and has maintained the genes pretty well. ... All the evidence points toward it not disappearing." Full Story

2. Economix Blog: Tempered Optimism for the Economy
New York Times Online (*requires registration)

Economics professor Laura D'Andrea Tyson explains why there are "plenty of reasons for optimism" in the economy but "also plenty of reasons that optimism should be tempered with caution and with concern about the prospects for sustainable and equitable growth." Full Story

3. Swampland: The Most Unprecedented Thing About Janet Yellen
Time Magazine Online

After Professor Emeritus Janet Yellen was confirmed as the next chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, her career is discussed in terms of her ambition, accomplishments as a woman, and in her marriage to Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerloff, also a Berkeley professor. Link to video. Professor Yellen is featured in a cover story, called "Janet Yellen: The Sixteen Trillion Dollar Woman," in the current edition of Time Magazine -- link by subscription only. Full Story

4. Op-Ed: Tech boom is good news for charities
San Francisco Chronicle

Economics professor Enrico Moretti writes about the economic boost provided to the San Francisco Bay Area by the current tech boom. While protesters have been alleging that the city's tech sector is pushing out nonprofits, he says "the data tell us that, rather than hurting nonprofits, the tech boom is actually very good news for local nonprofits. Indeed, contributions to Bay Area nonprofits closely track the ups and downs of the Nasdaq market, which, in turn, closely mirrors the performance of tech firms in the region. In essence, a thriving tech sector means more and better services for the neediest of our residents." A story quoting Professor Moretti on this topic appeared in the San Jose Mercury News. Full Story

5. Seer Series Blog: Henry Chesbrough

Adjunct business professor Henry Chesbrough, faculty director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, makes three predictions for 2014. First: "Universities will be increasingly disrupted by both new technologies and society’s demands." Second: "Corporations will increase their presence in the venture capital world." Third: "Services innovation is coming to Asia." Full Story

6. As Airport Business Takes Off, Are Workers Getting Left Behind?
Huffington Post

A Berkeley study issued in November found that the growth of outsourcing at airports has degraded traditionally good-paying and stable middle-class jobs. The outsourcing of baggage porter jobs, for example, has more than tripled over a decade, with wages falling 45 percent. Also, more than a third of airport cleaning workers now live in or near poverty. Full Story

7. Energy subsidies: Fuelling controversy

Associate business professor Lucas Davis recently calculated that the losses related to government fuel subsidies for road transport, worth $110 billion globally in 2012, reached $44 billion. Full Story

8. Currency Blog: A Better Way to Take Out the Garbage?
New Yorker Magazine

Assistant law professor Michelle Wilde Anderson, an expert on local government and land-use law, weighs in on the cost-benefits of different kinds of waste-management systems. She says that proposals with potential long-term benefits, such as franchise systems, attract less government attention during recessions, when people are focused on day-to-day challenges. “It’s a harder fight when businesses are worrying about things like their waste-hauling fees,” she notes. “But politicians are charged with their constituents’ well-being, and not just their status as consumers. There are other values that governments should care about, too, such as environmental impacts and labor standards. These public interests sometimes cut against choosing the cheapest service provider, but they may yield gains over the longer term, like air-quality improvements, traffic safety, and even future public cost savings.” Full Story

9. Op-Ed: How to Help College Students Graduate
International New York Times (*requires registration)

Public policy professor David Kirp, author of Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System, writes about the costs of low graduation rates at U.S. colleges, and proposes a "straightforward" remedy based on an innovative program at the City University of New York's community colleges. Full Story

10. Preparing students to meet their genes in the classroom
New Scientist

Educating students to make informed decisions about having their genes sequenced has become increasingly important as more university courses use such tests as teaching tools. This story mentions early attempts in 2010 at Berkeley and Stanford to have students take DNA tests that they could then analyze themselves in a course on the topic. Many were concerned then that students might make uninformed and regrettable choices. Full Story

11. Another University Gets Into the Health-Care MBA Boom
Bloomberg Businessweek

Berkeley's Haas School of Business is one of a growing number of schools offering health-care MBAs. Berkeley's degree is a joint MBA-MPH. Full Story

12. Answering questions about estate plans, insurance
San Francisco Chronicle

Laurel Lucia, a policy analyst with Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education, helps answer a question about eligibility for a Covered California insurance premium subsidy. The not-uncommon situation described is nicknamed the family glitch, and it is "not consistent with the spirit of the Affordable Care Act," she says. Full Story

13. Astronomy: Planetology comes of age

Astronomy professor Geoff Marcy, an exoplanet hunter, is mentioned for having investigated 42 planets, discovered by the Kepler telescope, that are of special interest in astronomy today. The mysterious planets are intermediate in size between rocky planet Earth and gas giant Neptune. Full Story

14. 'Multiple Encounters' exhibit bridges old, new Chinese art
San Francisco Chronicle

An "interesting postscript" to the Yang Fudong retrospective at the Berkeley Art Museum highlights continuities between old and new Chinese art. The exhibit features a selection by Berkeley fellow Chen Fong-fong of classical Chinese paintings, along with a 2005 Yang video. The exhibit, called "Multiple Encounters," continues through Feb. 16. Chen is interviewed briefly in this article. Full Story

Today's Edition of UC Berkeley in the News