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, 16 January 2014

1. UC Berkeley chancellor promises more help for undergrad students
Oakland Tribune

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks spoke to alumni and students' parents through a live Internet Q&A Tuesday night. The event, sponsored by the Cal Alumni Association, was the first of its kind on campus. Chancellor Dirks responded to issues raised in more than 1,000 questions submitted before the broadcast. Among his comments was a promise to focus more on undergraduate education. "If you don't have the most comprehensive forms of attention paid to the undergraduate experience, you're not dealing with the first and foremost part of our public operation," he said. Link to video of the full broadcast at UC Berkeley News Center. Full Story

2. UC Merced chancellor attending White House summit
Merced Sun Star

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks is attending a White House summit on higher education today (Thursday), along with other academic, business, government and nonprofit leaders. Representatives of the UC System include UC President Janet Napolitano and the chancellors of UC San Diego and UC Merced. The event is being streamed live at Full Story

3. Berkeley-breaking the military stigma

Dr. Kathryn Scott, Berkeley's director of physical education and a member of the campus's Military Officers' Education Committee, discusses the history of the university's ROTC program. "Berkeley was part of the original (group) of universities that came into being in 1916 with the founding of the Army ROTC program," she says. "The protests (of the Vietnam War) were not against ROTC, but rather the war. Today, the three ROTC programs on campus are viewed in a positive way and are very visible to the entire campus community." Full Story

4. Op-Ed: Lick Observatory: It would be a waste to close it
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)

Berkeley astronomy professor Alexei Filippenko and colleagues from UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine write to object to UC administrators' plans to discontinue funding for the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, near San Jose, by 2018. "We, and many of our UC astronomy colleagues, believe that the facilities at Lick continue to provide invaluable and unique scientific opportunities for UC, a marvelous training ground for students and an important and very popular venue for public outreach and education, attracting 35,000 visitors annually," they write. "The planned curtailment of UC funding, which has thrown Lick's future into doubt, reflects a lack of understanding of the importance of Lick to UC, to California and to astronomy as a whole." Calling for public support for the cause, they refer readers to a Friends of Lick Observatory website. Full Story

5. Atmosphere Blog: ‘Airpocalypse’ Smog Hits Beijing at Dangerous Levels
International New York Times Online

Graduate architecture student Benjamin Golze was in Beijing recently studying how to design an embassy building that is not only beautiful but also capable of keeping polluted air out. The project is part of his master's thesis, and in a city of more than 20 million where air quality measurements frequently range from "hazardous" to "beyond index," his work is perfectly situated. “People spend something like 80 percent of their lives indoors,” he says. “At that level, you have to start thinking about the long-term effects of the chronic condition.” Noting that Western engineers tend to worry more about indoor air pollution and try to design buildings that are properly vented, he says: “It takes a conceptual flip to figure out what to do here.” Full Story

6. All Things Considered: Obama Unveils New Plans To Encourage Manufacturing Jobs

Economics professor Enrico Moretti joins a discussion of President Obama's unveiling of a manufacturing innovation institute in North Carolina, the first of three similar hubs he proposed last year. Professor Moretti says: "Manufacturing employment has been declining for four decades now and it's one of the industries that has performed the worst over the long run. ... If you look at jobs in life science, they've been growing at a rate that is 12 times faster than the rest of the labor market." Still, he's not optimistic that the president's plan will help much, because he thinks middle class manufacturing jobs will continue to be replaced by computers and machines. Link to audio. Full Story

7. The housing market is still a drag on the economy--but why?
Los Angeles Times

Economics professor Brad DeLong comments on the weak performance of housing during the economic recovery. He says that gross domestic product has been devastated by "residences not built since 2007 because of the financial crisis, resulting depression, and breaking of housing finance," and "using the FHFA and the GSEs as tools of macroeconomic policy might well be superior" to other recovery tools. He says he had talked with Lawrence Summers about this in the summer of 2008, before Summers became Obama's chief economist, and they had agreed that the FHFA was a good tool for economic stabilization. However, it was never employed and DeLong considers that a strike against Obama's economic policy. Full Story

8. Black jobless falls to 11.9 percent
Charlotte Post

In an article about the unemployment rate for blacks, which dipped to 11.9 in December, Steven Pitts, an economist at Berkeley's Labor Center, explained: “A good portion of the drop in the unemployment rate came from people dropping out of the labor force.” Full Story

9. How Amazon Crushed the Union Movement
Time Magazine

Associate business and public policy professor Steve Tadelis, an expert on e-commerce, comments on Amazon's rejection of labor unions since its founding in 1994. He says that unionization would make it more complicated for Amazon to fire workers, among other things, and that higher labor costs could also narrow the company’s already thin profit margin. With most of the company's work being done by blue-collar workers, he notes: “Even though the typical layperson on the street thinks Amazon belongs to the same group as Google, Facebook and Twitter, it’s more like Walmart without the bricks and mortar.” Walmart has also successfully avoided unionization. Full Story

10. Ohio lethal injection with new drug drawing criticism after man chokes, takes 15 minutes to die
KFOR TV (Oklahoma City)

Before Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire was executed by lethal injection in Ohio Thursday morning, law professor Elisabeth A. Semel, director of Berkeley's Death Penalty Clinic, had written about the untried drug combination the state would be using. “The state disagrees," she had said, "but the truth is that no one knows exactly how McGuire will die, how long it will take or what he will experience in the process.” Full Story

11. Obituary: Anthropologist Gerald D Berreman known for work on inequality in India dies
Daily News & Analysis (India)

Anthropology Professor Emeritus Gerald Berreman has died at the age of 83. He spent his distinguished career studying caste, gender, class and environment in India. He was also known as an early proponent of socially-responsible anthropology. Full Story

12. Elizabeth Diller defends MoMA plan to demolish Folk Art building
Los Angeles Times

Architect Elizabeth Diller is asked in an interview about the "idea that many of the most successful or memorable buildings are deeply idiosyncratic, regardless of era or formal approach," with Berkeley's 1971 art museum by Mario Ciampi given as an example. Diller, whose company is currently working on a new museum building for the campus, responds: "I totally agree with you. Those are great museums and they work really well. Except for the seismic issues, the Ciampi building could have continued to work. I love that building." Full Story

13. Cal unbeaten in Pac-12; beats Washington 82-56
San Francisco Chronicle

After an 82-56 win over the Huskies Wednesday night, the men's basketball team remains unbeaten in the start of the Pac-12 season. A couple of milestones were reached for the team during the game. Player David Kravish moved into second place on Cal's career list, and Coach Mike Montgomery tied former Oregon State coach Slats Gill for the third-most wins in conference history. "Defensively we were very good," Coach Montgomery said. "Our big guys are causing some problems for people inside. We started out a little nervous ... once we got it rolling, it was tough for Washington." Full Story

14. Cal's Brendan Bigelow to enter NFL draft
San Francisco Chronicle

Cal's athletic department has announced that running back Brendan Bigelow has decided to enter the NFL draft, skipping his senior season. He is the fifth player to leave for the draft this offseason, following defensive back Kameron Jackson, tight end Richard Rodgers, linebacker Khairi Fortt and defensive tackle Viliami Moala. Full Story

15. Berkeley community briefs: Willie Nelson to open Greek Theatre concert season
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

Willie Nelson is scheduled to open the 2014 Greek Theatre concert season on April 12. The country music legend will be joined by two other groups – the Drive-By Truckers and Shovels and Rope. Full Story

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