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.

Monday, 3 February 2014

1. New Fed chief Janet Yellen lets a long career of breaking barriers speak for itself
Washington Post

A profile of business professor emeritus Janet Yellen, sworn in Monday as the new chair of the Federal Reserve, focuses on her academic roots at Berkeley and the obstacles she has overcome rising to one of the most powerful positions a woman has ever held. Married to, and collaborating with, Nobel Prizewinning economics professor George Akerlof, also at Berkeley, she was once what was called in academia "the trailing spouse." This story mentions other Berkeley faculty, including business professor emeritus Frances Van Loo, law professor Mary Ann Mason, associate business professor Christine Rosen, and business professor Laura D'Andrea Tyson. Other stories about Professor Yellen's swearing-in appeared in the Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury News (AP), and on NPR's All Things Considered--link to audio. Full Story

2. How Suburban Sprawl Is Killing The Environment
International Business Times

A study co-authored by energy professor Daniel Kammen and doctoral student Christopher Jones has found that dense urban areas produce less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, with the sprawling suburbs around them producing enough pollution to effectively cancel out the energy-saving achievements of city dwellers. According to Jones: "This is really good news for cities. ... There are good examples of low carbon footprint locations at any city size or population density. The trick is figuring out the right set of policies to make low-carbon development happen.” Full Story

3. Op-Ed: A drier California than ever? Pretty much.
Los Angeles Times

Earth and planetary sciences professor B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam, a senior environmental planner and biologist at Caltrans, co-wrote this commentary on California's drought crisis. "If the current drought continues in California through Oct. 1, this water year will be the driest not only in our modern records but in half a millennium," they say. "If the patterns of the last several thousand years are a guide, we can expect more and longer droughts than what we have seen in the last 119 years. And according to climate predictions, we can expect warmer temperatures and higher evaporation rates, putting more stress on sensitive ecosystems. ... The climate clock is ticking, and it is time for policymakers in the West to prepare for a warmer and drier future facing the region." A story quoting Professor Ingram on this topic appeared in the International New York Times. Full Story

4. Op-Ed: Conservatives don't want to face reality of inequality
San Francisco Chronicle

Public policy professor Robert Reich disputes claims by conservatives that policy-makers should focus on poverty rather than inequality. "Rubbish," he says. Itemizing the ways that "inequality affects all of us," he concludes: "America's surging inequality requires that we address the growing misallocation of political and economic power in America. That's exactly what conservatives don't want us to do." Full Story

5. The Downside of Lower Unemployment
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

Associate economics and public policy professor Jesse Rothstein is quoted in a story about the latest jobs report, which indicates the U.S. unemployment rate fell again in January. One of the explanations for the lower unemployment rate is the fact that some job seekers will continue to apply for jobs only if they're still receiving unemployment benefits. "But if there's no benefits attached to it, then they just drop out," he says. Full Story

6. Opinionator Blog: How Inequality Hollows Out the Soul
New York Times Online (*requires registration)

A 2012 study led by psychology professor Sheri Johnson informs a commentary about the psychological effects of income inequality. Professor Johnson's team reviewed extensive evidence from biological, behavioral and self-reported accounts, and concluded that a wide range of mental disorders might originate in a “dominance behavioral system,” including mania, narcissism, anxiety, depression, antisocial personality disorder, and bipolarism. Full Story

7. Jahi McMath: Could her case change how California determines death?
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

Law Professor Emeritus Marjorie Shultz, who specializes in medical ethics, comments on the Jahi McMath case, which may be leading to the nation's first challenge to a law linking the end of life to brain death. The family of the girl who was declared brain dead after tonsil, throat and nose surgery to relieve sleep apnea is suing to keep their daughter alive because they believe -- according to their faith -- that life only ends when the heart stops beating. Professor Shultz says the family's personal religious beliefs cannot force a hospital to abide. "The thing that might have weight is our knowledge of the brain is still quite limited and we have a tendency to confuse what we can measure as a fact," she says, adding that it would likely take the Legislature to craft a similar law to those in New Jersey or New York to make any real change. Giving families the power to declare death could have significant ramifications, she says. "You would have a lot of chaos if it were up to each individual to determine death. ... So many things flow from that determination." Full Story

8. Terra Verde
KPFA Radio

Joel Moskowitz, director of Berkeley's Center for Family and Community Health, joins a discussion of the possible risks of cell phone radiation. Link to audio. Full Story

9. As Data Proliferate, So Do Data-Related Graduate Programs
Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration)

A story about the "mad dash for talent" among employers wanting to capitalize on Big Data, mentions the first all-online master's degree in information and data science, launched last month at Berkeley's School of Information. Its mission includes producing graduates with an awareness of the social and policy implications of data, says Dean AnnaLee Saxenian. "We wanted to create our curriculum from the ground up, and we wanted to make it cross-disciplinary in the way that schools of information can." Full Story

10. .YourUniversityHere
Inside Higher Ed

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has loosened restrictions on what comes after the "dot" in web addresses, and universities could now switch from using the .edu suffix to using the institution's name as a suffix. The new branding possibilities come with catches, however, including expense and conflicting name claims. At the Berkeley campus, spokesman Robert Sanders says: "The idea has not been discussed by key campus constituents. Our first reaction, however, is that is wouldn’t be worth the money to register .berkeley, given that there are other Berkeleys around the world, which might trigger more opposition than would, for example, .harvard." Full Story

11. Political Diary: Supermajority Mischief
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

This commentary posits that Democrats in the California Senate are under pressure to push through their legislative priorities, including a referendum on Prop. 209, since their supermajority may not last through the next election. "[A] referendum may be the only route to repealing Prop. 209, which Democrats argue hurt minorities," the author says. "Yet Prop. 209's effects on minority educational opportunities is tenuous at best. While black enrollment at the University of California Los Angeles and Berkeley (the UC's most selective campuses) has fallen since Prop. 209's passage, black graduation rates have actually increased. Meanwhile, more Asians are being admitted, and Latino representation at the Cal State system has grown." Full Story

12. Albany: Police investigate attempted kidnapping of boy at UC housing complex
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

An attempted abduction of a 15-year-old boy on crutches occurred at University Village in Albany Friday night. The boy fought off the attacker and escaped. Anyone with information is urged to call UC Police at 510-642-0472. Full Story

13. The Long Reach of David Brion Davis
Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration)

An article about historian David Brion Davis and his transformative influence on slavery scholarship begins: "In the spring of 1955, a graduate student at Harvard met a visiting professor from Berkeley. Their encounter helped to change how history is written, and slavery’s place in that story." Davis was the student, and the visiting professor was Kenneth M. Stampp, who was about to publish The Peculiar Institution, "the first major challenge to the racist slavery scholarship that prevailed at the time." Full Story

14. Obituary: John Dobson, Sidewalk Astronomers founder, dies
San Francisco Chronicle

Alum John Dobson, a former monk and popular amateur astronomer, has died at the age of 98. He graduated from Berkeley in 1943, with a master's degree in chemistry. He later spent decades as a "cosmological Pied Piper," according to this obituary. He invented a telescope now widely sold as a kit, and founded the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers, which eventually amassed thousands of members in worldwide chapters. "John had a totally engaging and captivating way of talking that meshed the joys of telescope making with the joys of discovering about the universe," says Allan Gould, an astronomer with Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science. Full Story

15. Martha Graham Dance Company review: eager and enthusiastic
San Francisco Chronicle

The Martha Graham Dance Company visited the campus this past weekend after a 25-year absence. Among their performances were "two seminal works of American modern dance" – "Appalachian Spring" and "Cave of the Heart." The reviewer says: "Mostly, one admired the organization itself, buffeted in the past decade by lawsuits and natural disasters; under the artistic direction of former principal dancer Janet Eilber, it looked ready and eager to communicate the wonders of this precious repertory, a heritage that defined an art form." Full Story

16. Marshawn Lynch First Former Cal Player to Score Touchdown in Super Bowl
Berkeley Patch

Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch became the first former UC Berkeley football player to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl on Sunday. Former Cal player Brandon Mebane also played for the Seahawks, with three tackles and 1.0 tackle for loss (-2 yards). On the other side, with the Broncos, former Cal player C.J. Anderson had one catch for 14 yards and two receptions for nine. All three players were participating in their first Super Bowl, and they gave Cal at least one player on a Super Bowl roster for the 12th time in the past 13 seasons. Full Story

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