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.

Friday, 14 February 2014

1. California officials warn of measles exposure
Washington Post

Public health officials confirmed that a UC Berkeley student was diagnosed with measles earlier this week. The individual does not live on campus, but may have exposed others to the highly contagious virus by attending classes and riding public transit. Health officials are urging people who have not had the disease or who have not been vaccinated against measles to be alert to symptoms. If symptoms appear, they should stay home and contact their health care provider immediately. Pregnant women and those who have weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or cancer, should contact their provider if they are unsure whether they have had the MMR vaccine or measles in the past. For more information, visit: Stories on this topic appeared in more than 100 sources, including the Oakland Tribune, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, KTVU Online, San Francisco Chronicle, and KGO TV--link to video. Full Story

2. UC Berkeley, Stanford jump into alliance to recruit minority Ph.D. students
San Francisco Business Times (*requires registration)

UC Berkeley is part of a unique West Coast alliance pledged to recruiting more minority Ph.D. students in the STEM fields of mathematics, physical and computer sciences and engineering. Called the California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, it will begin with a $2.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, targeting students advancing in postdoctoral studies, as well as faculty members at research universities. Other stories on this topic appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Inside Higher Ed. Full Story

3. Goalball in Blindfolds, Soccer in Wheelchairs: Cal Busts Barriers to Competitive Sports
California Magazine

Fitness for All, an assortment of unusual classes at Cal’s Recreational Sports Facility, is part of the university’s groundbreaking project to include staff and students with disabilities in competitive and recreational sports. Even people who have never played team sports of any kind are placed side-by-side with varsity team players and non-jocks at every level of coordination, playing games such as goalball with blindfolds and soccer in wheelchairs. “We want Berkeley to be the first campus in California to have competitive sports for people who are disabled, and to be a leader in doing that,” says Matt Grigorieff, coordinator and a founder of Fitness for All, which has support from nonprofits, private donors and the university. “Given our history here in Berkeley with disability rights, we should be the first.” Full Story

4. Geographic Variation of Human Gut Microbes Linked to Obesity
Nature World News

A new study co-authored by graduate student Taichi Suzuki has found that people living in northern latitudes have more gut bacteria linked to obesity than do people living farther south. Suzuki says: "People think obesity is a bad thing, but maybe in the past getting more fat and more energy from the diet might have been important to survival in cold places. Our gut microbes today might be influenced by our ancestors. ... This suggests that what we call ‘healthy microbiota’ may differ in different geographic regions." Full Story

5. Op-Ed Column: A Valentine for Restaurant Workers
International New York Times

Many minimum wage workers, typically employed in restaurants, earn the lowest possible legal pay, currently $2.13 an hour. These workers make what is known as the "tipped minimum wage." Since seventy percent of restaurant servers are women, the wage is sexist and often accompanied by other types of sexual discrimination. Saru Jayaraman, director of Berkeley's Food Labor Research Center, says: “The level of sexual harassment is four times higher in restaurants than in the average of other sectors, and there are endless stories of women being sent home to dress more sexually — to show more cleavage, for example.” Full Story

6. Russians use 'love' emoticon on Facebook more than any other
San Francisco Business Times

Researchers at Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center helped design a suite of emoticons, called "finches," for Facebook. A recent analysis mapped the emoticons' usage and showed that Russians use the emoticon for "love" on their messages more than any other emoticon, while Canadians choose other emoticons just as often. Jeremy Adam Smith, producer and editor of the center's website, explains the contrast: "It's not that Russians are more loving than Canadians because they send more love finches. ... It's that, given the choice of many emoticons to use, the Russians are choosing the one for love more frequently than the other emoticons. In contrast, Canadians are choosing to send a more equal number of love finches alongside ones that express other emotions." Since a broader vocabulary of emoticons is associated with greater overall happiness, he adds: "So don't stop sending those love finches, Russia. ... But remember to balance them out with some bemusement, surprise, anger, and sadness." Full Story

7. Real Time Economics Blog: Cold Calculations: The Economics of Snow
Wall Street Journal Online (*requires registration)

A blog about the risks of extreme cold weather to low-income families cites a 2007 study co-authored by economics professor Enrico Moretti. The authors had reported: "We estimate that the number of annual deaths attributable to cold temperature is 27,940 or 1.3% of total deaths in the U.S. ... This effect is even larger in low income areas.” Full Story

8. Digits Blog: Irate Over Spying, EU Barks Up Wrong Regulatory Tree
Wall Street Journal Online

Senior researcher Nicholas Weaver, of Berkeley's International Computer Science Institute, weighs in on a European call for reform of Icann, the U.S.-controlled agency that allots domain names and Internet Protocol addresses. The issue arises in response to NSA surveillance revelations. Weaver says: "If the traffic is unencrypted, it sees all, whether the destination is to a .ru domain or And even if everything was encrypted, the wiretap doesn’t care who’s assigning the addresses, just that it can create a mapping between IP addresses and real world locations. The EU already has substantial privacy mandates, and if the EU was serious about countering the U.S. and UK’s spying, they would extend these mandates to require all user-identifying websites and all email providers in Europe must encrypt all traffic.” Full Story

9. Yellen's Husband Akerlof Resigns Role
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

Economics Professor Emeritus George Akerlof has resigned from the advisory board of the UBS International Center of Economics in Society at the University of Zurich. A story in the Wall Street Journal Thursday had raised the question of whether the Nobel Prizewinner's position on the board represented a conflict of interest for his wife, Janet Yellen, the new chair of the Federal Reserve. "My service on this board is wholly academic in nature and is uncompensated," he says. "There is no actual conflict of interest. However, to avoid even the appearance of a conflict, I have stepped down from the academic advisory board." Full Story

10. A Reader Asks: If I Am On COBRA, Do I Have To Buy A New Marketplace Plan?
Washington Post

Laurel Lucia, a policy analyst at Berkeley's Labor Center, is consulted on a column answering an Affordable Care Act question. The question has to do with when someone on COBRA should look for a new marketplace plan. Lucia says the person might want to see if the marketplace offers similar coverage at a lower price. “I think people have heard about the high deductibles on bronze plans, and they may not realize that the platinum and gold level plans available may have lower cost sharing,” she says. Full Story

11. The resume that makes for a top executive
Washington Post

A new study has tracked the changing profile of top executives, and one of its authors explains one of the reasons that so many corporate executives now have public university backgrounds. “It’s a bit of an archaeological story,” he says. “If you think back to when the executives now went to school, around 30 years ago, it was sort of the...golden era of state universities, which really boomed in the late ’60s and ’70s. Schools like Michigan and Berkeley — they were building these fabulous campuses, and pulling people in who would have otherwise gone to Ivy League schools.” Full Story

12. Protesters Greet UC President Janet Napolitano On Visit To Berkeley Campus
CBS Local

UC President Janet Napolitano toured the Berkeley campus Thursday, meeting with students and faculty. A protest followed her. Cal graduate Justin Chiang says that Napolitano’s tenure as head of Homeland Security, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, makes her the wrong choice to lead the UC system. Napolitano's spokeswoman, Dianne Klein, said: “Berkeley is a cradle of free speech, as is the University of California in general. ... This is part of the fabric of the university.” Link to audio. Full Story

13. Barbara Chase-Riboud's works serve as tribute to Malcolm X
San Francisco Chronicle

Sculptor Barbara Chase-Riboud is interviewed about an exhibition of her work, currently on exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum. The exhibit, called "Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles," was curated by Lucinda Barnes. The Malcolm X steles are bronze casts that are bound and draped with fiber. Other items on display will include her sculpture "Confessions for Myself" and numerous drawings. Full Story

Today's Edition of UC Berkeley in the News