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.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

1. Researchers launch 'kelp watch' to determine extent of Fukushima contamination

Kelp Watch 2014, a new project co-founded by nuclear engineering professor Kai Vetter, will study the extent of radioactive contamination of the state's coastal kelp forest from Japan's damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. Professor Vetter, also head of applied nuclear physics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, says: "UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab's analysis within the new Kelp Watch initiative is part of a larger, ongoing, effort to measure Fukushima related radionuclides in a large variety of objects. We have two main objectives—to learn more about the distribution and transport of these materials in our world, and to make the results and explanations available to the public. ... Making our results available is a critical aspect of our work as it allows us to address concerns about Fukushima radiation levels and to explain the meaning and potential impact of these levels ... particularly in the context of the natural radiation background we are exposed to in our daily lives." Full Story

2. Peak Fish: Overfishing doesn’t just shrink fish populations—they often don’t recover afterwards

A new study co-authored by integrative biology professor Mary Power has found that overfishing often causes permanent damage when it "flips" an ecosystem into an "alternative state" that sets off a complex reshuffling of remaining species. She says: "Ecosystem flips and locks that convert the ocean to a bacterial soup that favors jellyfish rather than finfish will not sustain the protein we need to feed the 9 [billion to] 11 billion people expected to show up on Earth over the coming decades.” Full Story

3. Kepler clue to supernova puzzle

Astronomy professor Daniel Kasen collaborated on a study of Kepler data, providing new insight into the mysterious processes that give rise to type la supernovae. He explains some of the study's implications. Full Story

4. Stanford education dean named UC Berkeley's new provost
Los Angeles Times

Social psychologist Claude Steele, dean of Stanford's Graduate School of Education and a former Columbia University provost, has been named the next executive vice chancellor and provost of UC Berkeley. "Claude is a world-class scholar, an extraordinarily gifted administrator, and a visionary leader with a deep commitment to teaching, innovation and collaboration," Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks says. If confirmed by the UC Regents as early as next week, he is expected to begin March 31, replacing retiring provost George Breslauer. Other stories on this topic appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education Online, Inside Higher Ed, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, and Berkeley Patch. Full Story

5. Education Leads Brown’s Proposed Budget Spending
Neon Tommy

Governor Brown's proposed infusion of money into California schools in the coming fiscal year would include the addition of roughly one billion dollars toward higher education, for a total of $26.3 billion. This would include an additional $142.2 million for the UC system, and part of the rationale for the extra funding is to keep tuition in check and help students to get through college on time. Berkeley student Jordy Lizaola said: "What this means for me as a UC student is that Jerry Brown, and whoever else is involved with this proposal, is aware of how tuition has been rising and how it's taking students longer than four years to get their bachelor [degrees]. ... I can see how it will encourage students to get through in four years, but I know that not everything is perfect so this proposal could possibly have flaws that I'm not aware of just yet.” Another story on this topic appeared in the Oakland Tribune. Full Story

6. Cal Landmark Gets a Really Big Lift
Berkeley Patch

The relocation of a 103-year-old landmarked Julia Morgan building to the UC Botanical Garden was successfully completed Sunday. Girton Hall, as it is known, was built by the pioneering woman architect and Cal alum in 1911 to serve as the Associated Women Students' building, at a time when women were not permitted access to most men's facilities. Its new purpose will be as a venue for conferences, exhibits, alumni events, and weddings. The building's style is called Bay Region, or First Bay Tradition. Other stories on this topic appeared in the San Jose Mercury News Online and KGO Online. Full Story

7. George Miller to retire; decision takes many by surprise
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

Ethan Rarick, director of Berkeley's Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, comments on Democrat Rep. George Miller's surprise announcement that he will not seek re-election in November. "Miller has been an incredibly smart and capable congressman over a long period of time who is without question one of the most important members from California and arguably one of the most important members in the entire House," Rarick said. "His departure is national news." Full Story

8. Egyptians Vote in Constitutional Referendum
Voice of America Online

Associate anthropology professor Saba Mahmood comments on the new constitution Egyptians are voting on in a two-day referendum. Noting that she expects the document to be ratified by a "broad referendum," she says: "I think this is the result of two things. One is the political repression that the military government has unleased in Egypt so that most people who disagree with the government are not going to really come out in any great numbers because they are afraid of the political repercussions. And secondly, there is a general nationalist fervor that has gripped the country in support of the military." Full Story

9. The Surprising Ways The Weather Affects Your Health And Well-Being
Huffington Post

In an article about weather and moods, a Berkeley study is mentioned. It had linked various types of violence to hot weather. Full Story

10. One Health Care Reformer's Plan To Fix Obamacare 'Disaster'
Huffington Post

Public health professor Stephen Shortell comments on the new intelligent Clinical Operating System (iCOS) introduced by NantHealth founder Patrick Soon-Shiong. The platform reportedly has the potential to transform electronic medical records in the U.S., and Professor Shortell says Soon-Shiong is "certainly among the first to propose something this innovative." He adds: "There's likely to be competition in that space, and I do know there are others thinking along the same lines that just haven't made public announcements yet." Full Story

11. UC calendar shifts to avoid religious conflict
San Jose Mercury News

The academic calendar for UC schools on the quarter system has been tweaked to assure there is no conflict with the Jewish High Holy Days, which fall at the end of September. The result will be a slightly shorter winter break at those campuses. The policy designed to avoid academic-religious conflicts last affected Berkeley and Merced, which are on the semester system, in 2008. At that time, move-in days conflicted with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Another story on this topic appeared in the Sacramento Bee. Full Story

12. Daytime Assault, Armed Robbery in People's Park
Berkeley Patch

A man was robbed at gunpoint by two other men in People's Park, campus-owned land in Berkeley, on Saturday afternoon. The suspects escaped. Multiple robberies accompanied by physical assault have occurred in the area in the past month, including another daytime robbery three days earlier. That suspect was caught. Full Story

13. Dog Whistle Politics: How Politicians Use Coded Racism to Push Through Policies Hurting All
Democracy Now!

Law professor Ian Haney López is interviewed about his new book, Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. "Dog whistle politics" refers to coded racial appeals politicians use to win support for cuts to unemployment benefits and other programs benefitting the poor. According to Professor López, "This sort of racism is being used to fool a lot of whites into voting for Republicans whose main allegiance is to corporate interests." Link to video. Full Story

14. Review: Donald Rumsfeld Revealed
New York Review of Books (*requires registration)

Journalism professor Mark Danner writes about former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and how he is represented in two books and a film. Full Story

15. Where to experience Hawaii in the Bay Area
Oakland Tribune

A round-up of Hawaiian-style pleasures in the Bay Area mentions the "hidden tropics" of Berkeley: "Up in the Berkeley hills, above Memorial Stadium, seems an unlikely place to experience the tropics, but amid the 34 acres of global vegetation at the University of California Botanical Garden, you'll find the Tropical House filled with rain forest plants, and an outdoor collection of palms and cycads from tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of the world. Make your way past succulents and cacti in the Arid House, alongside the hilly terrain of the Asian and California sections, then turn right at the towering Canary Island date palm into a tunnel of fronds and encephalartos trispinosus from South America, Greece, Hong Kong, Australia, Mexico and the Himalayas." Full Story

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