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, 10 February 2014

1. Discovery opens up new areas of microbiology, evolutionary biology
Science Blog

A new study co-authored by plant and microbial biology professor Bob Buchanan suggests that a regulatory process connected with photosynthesis in plants likely developed on Earth in ancient microbes 2.5 billion years ago, long before oxygen became available. The study has broad implications, since it opens up new fields of evolutionary biology and microbiology and offers insight on a variety of phenomena, including climate change, agriculture, natural gas production, and human health. Other stories on this topic appeared in the Science Recorder, Headlines & Global News, and Nature World News. Full Story

2. Berkeley: a radical home for Hitler’s émigrés
Times Higher Education (UK)

A new exhibit at UC Berkeley’s Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life explores the stories of more than 70 intellectuals who escaped fascism in Europe and came to UC Berkeley in the 1930s and '40s. Called "Saved by the Bay: The Intellectual Migration from Fascist Europe to UC Berkeley," the exhibit runs until June 27. Curator Francesco Spagnolo says that except for the émigrés who went to Hollywood, there has been little research conducted about those who went to other parts of the West Coast. He says: "The global outlook of the university owes a lot to those arrivals. And their first-hand knowledge of totalitarianism gave a different dimension to their political awareness." A brief on this topic appeared in Berkeleyside. Full Story

3. Cal grieving over death of football player Ted Agu
San Francisco Chronicle

After Cal football player Ted Agu died suddenly on Friday, the campus community is expressing its sorrow while awaiting word from the coroner about the cause of death. "He came here because he loved the game," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "He had a passion for life, he loved to learn, he loved to laugh. He had a great sense of humor. ... He was rewarded with an athletic scholarship because of his hard work and dedication. He's what's good about college athletics. He's exactly what you want from a young man." News about Agu's death appeared in more than 100 sources worldwide, including KGO TV (link to video), Berkleyside, and KTVU online. Full Story

4. Op-Ed: Preschool is important, but it’s more important for poor children
Washington Post

Education and public policy professor Bruce Fuller, author of Standardized Childhood, dispels some myths about pre-school education and calls upon policy-makers to focus on its critical importance for children in low-income families. He concludes: "Public schools will continue to reinforce inequality and harden achievement gaps until gross disparities in children’s early development are narrowed. But we must avoid squandering scarce dollars on full-day programs for children who gain little from preschool — essentially to buy the political support of their well-off parents. The rekindled push to expand preschool is welcome. But unless public dollars are focused on high-quality programs for poor families — while bolstering the neighborhood organizations that serve them — good intentions will turn into dashed hopes." Full Story

5. Op-Ed: Will Chattanooga workers vote in UAW?
San Francisco Chronicle

Professor Harley Shaiken, an expert on labor and the global economy, writes about a union-organizing effort at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. He says that if the unionization is successful it would be historic, building a new model for the U.S. to compete globally. "The stakes are high," he says, noting that opponents, including conservative political leaders and business groups, are "campaigning hard" to defeat it. "A union model rolling out of Chattanooga could mean a more successful company, workers across the South taking a test drive, and a new route to the middle class for working families." Full Story

6. Op-Ed: Working class down -- but not for long
San Francisco Chronicle

Public policy professor Robert Reich responds to a question he's often asked – "why we don't have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society." Noting that three reasons stand out, all having to do with working class fear, he concludes: "At some point, working people, students and the broad public will have had enough. They will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history. ... Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait, the more likely it will be the latter." Full Story

7. Where tech buses roam, affluence follows
San Francisco Chronicle

A story about the buses that transport commuters from San Francisco to South Bay tech companies mentions that a recent Berkeley study found the average tech shuttle rider is a single male about 30 years old earning $100,000 or more a year. Full Story

8. Patrick Kline – Is America Still the Land of Opportunity?
Tavis Smiley Radio Show

Assistant economics professor Patrick Kline discusses a report he co-authored -- “Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the U.S.” Link to audio. Full Story

9. The Greater the Turmoil, the Stronger the Dollar. Again.
International New York Times (*requires registration)

An article about the enduring status of the dollar as the world's leading currency quotes economics professor Barry Eichengreen, who has written that there is still no viable challenger to the dollar. Professor Eichengreen was also quoted on the topic of emerging markets in the San Francisco Chronicle. Full Story

10. Shunned as NSA Advisers, Academics Question Their Ties to the Agency
Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration)

Mathematics professor Edward Frenkel is among a number of mathematicians concerned about the NSA's move away from academic consultants to corporate advisers. He says that mathematicians are realizing that they are in the same position as nuclear physicists in the middle of the last century -- and business students in more recent times -- for suddenly needing to figure out the ethics behind what they do. He notes that along with much of the world, "Our community has been behind the curve" in not fully appreciating that "in the 21st century, a mathematical formula could be just as powerful as a nuclear bomb." Full Story

11. Firm seeks to harness Wyoming's wind energy for California
Los Angeles Times

Business professor Severin Borenstein is quoted in a story about the Anschutz Corp.'s plan to build a wind-generated power facility in Wyoming and transmit the power not to users in Wyoming, but to California's power grid 750 miles away. He says: "If we are taking renewable power from Wyoming, while they burn coal, then you aren't accomplishing very much," Unnamed Berkeley experts are also mentioned for having agreed that the cost of electricity in California is expected to jump significantly in coming years. Full Story

12. As Law Schools Struggle, Diversity Offers Opportunities
Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration)

Law Professor Emerita Marjorie Schultz and Psychology Professor Emeritus Sheldon Zedeck are cited in a story about changing demographics in legal education. Their study identified 26 skills that were important to lawyer effectiveness and found that the LSAT had very weak predictive value for 10 of the skills and no value at all for the other 16. They identified a range of alternative assessments that were much more effective at predicting lawyer effectiveness and did so in a more responsible and equitable manner. According to the article, "Those findings are yet more proof of the value of truly holistic admissions policies that serve the larger purpose of legal education." Full Story

13. U-Va. known for generous financial aid, but low share of students in economic need
Washington Post

A story about the University of Virginia's reputation for having a generous financial aid program but relatively low share of low-income students mentions top-ranked UC Berkeley's "remarkable" 33 percent share of Pell recipients among its students. Full Story

14. Why Michael Sam's Team Kept His Secret
NBC Online

Assistant business professor Clayton Critcher, a psychologist who has studied the psychology of secret-keeping, is quoted in a story about football player Michael Sam. Before he came out publicly as gay, his team had faithfully kept his secret after he confided in them. “We know that when people choose to confide secrets with us, that can draw us closer together, because that disclosure signals trust and intimacy in itself,” Professor Critcher says. Full Story

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