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Friday, 21 February 2014
1. UC Berkeley expert says it's time for 'locally sourced' water, too
San Francisco Business Times
Civil and environmental engineering professor David Sedlak has studied California's complex water delivery and treatment system and concluded that it is time for a "revolution" in urban water systems. "In California, I predict we'll see major investments in local water supplies," he says, noting how far water currently travels from source to tap in the state. His revolution includes "lots of water recycling, the capture and use of rainwater that would otherwise become urban runoff that pollutes beaches, and seawater desalination." Full Story
2. Offshoring & Outsourcing: A Mixed Bag For Jobs, Wages
A new study co-authored by economics professor Clair Brown, director of Berkeley's Center for Work, Technology and Society, has found that the outsourcing and offshoring of jobs appears to have had both positive and negative effects on American jobs and wages. “While offshoring appears to be complementary to U.S. employment, in that it is associated with a relative increase in higher-paid jobs, it could be undermining lower-wage jobs,” she says. "We would need to conduct a follow-up survey to understand how companies structure their businesses globally and domestically.” Full Story
3. Wal-Mart Poised for Henry Ford Moment Amid Minimum Wage Debate
San Francisco Chronicle
A Center for Labor Research and Education study is cited in a story about the possibility that Wal-Mart will raise its minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The researchers estimate that the increase would add $200 million – less than 1 percent – to the company's annual labor bill. Ken Jacobs, the center's chairman, says that would equal roughly a penny per $16 item, and that the pay raise would boost purchases among the chain's core shoppers. “When Henry Ford announced the 5-dollar-day, the response was that it would diminish the auto industry and bankrupt his company,” labor professor Harley Shaiken says. "Instead it jump-started purchasing power, reduced turnover and increased the profitability of Ford Motor Co. There’s a lesson we can still learn from that.” Stories on this topic appeared in dozens of sources, including ThinkProgress. Professor Shaiken was also quoted in USA Today on a failed unionization attempt in Tennessee. Full Story
4. Opinionator Blog: Your Fate? Thank Your Ancestors
New York Times Online (*requires registration)
A recent study co-authored by Berkeley and Harvard economists found that the social mobility rate in the U.S. hasn't changed much since the 1970s, but this commentator says the research tells only "part of the story." Noting that mobility has always been slow, he describes his own research showing that one's "overall life chances can be predicted not just from your parents’ status but also from your great-great-great-grandparents’." Full Story
5. Tech city: Too much of a good thing for San Francisco?
San Francisco Business Times (*requires registration)
Economics professor Enrico Moretti weighs in on the San Francisco economy, which some argue has become too reliant on the tech industry. He says that although tech is the fastest growing sector, there are still other traditional contributors such as tourism, finance and government jobs. He also notes that the variety within the city’s tech base, including enterprise software, e-commerce, gaming and digital media, means the industry is less susceptible to economic shocks. “My reading of ... San Francisco is that it has been fairly flexible in how it reacts to negative shocks.” He attributes that resilience to its labor pool, fed by local universities, and ample venture capital funding sources. Full Story
6. California Colleges Launch Effort To Recruit Minority Ph.D. Students, Faculty
UC Berkeley is part of a unique West Coast alliance pledged to recruiting more minority Ph.D. students in the STEM fields. 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. "We're constantly on the look-out for new funding opportunities, new ideas, new initiatives that can help increase the diversity at Berkeley within the STEM field," says psychology professor Rudy Mendoza-Denton, a research director for the group. "We were particularly intrigued by the possibility of teaming up efforts." Full Story
7. The ADHD Explosion: Is Educational Policy to Blame?
Wall Street Journal Online (*requires registration)
Psychology professor Alison Gopnik discusses a new Berkeley study showing that the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has doubled in the past two decades, and that this result may be connected to changes in educational policy. Link to video. Professor Gopnik also reviewed the book by Berkeley colleagues Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler in the Wall Street Journal. Full Story
8. Dance: The Change That Just Might Come
International New York Times
Mark Morris's new full-evening “Acis and Galatea” program with Nicholas McGegan conducting the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra is mentioned as "one of several signal events of spring 2014 to occur outside New York." Cal Performances will present the program at Zellerbach Hall April 25 to 27. Full Story