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.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

1. Op-Ed: UC Berkeley responds to state audit on sexual assault policies
San Francisco Chronicle

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks responds to the results of a state audit of sexual harassment and sexual violence policies and practices at Berkeley and three other California universities. He says: "First and foremost, I welcome the report's findings and recommendations. I believe this audit will only help us advance on our shared and unequivocal commitment to do what is necessary to create and sustain a caring culture of sexual assault prevention and reporting on our campus, and to hold members of our community accountable for violating the university's sexual assault policies." Noting aspects where the campus performed well and actions being planned to address shortfalls, he concludes: "I look forward to working with the UC Berkeley campus community as we strive to address these complicated challenges. UC Berkeley alone cannot solve a national problem, but we can take a leadership role for academia and the public we serve in creating a culture where prevention, reporting and accountability result in a safe and respectful campus for all." Stories about the audit appeared in dozens of sources, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee Online, Chronicle of Higher Education Online, CBS Bay Area Online, KTVU Online and KPBS (AP). Full Story

2. Disco clam's party tricks revealed by scientists

Integrative biology graduate student Lindsey Dougherty has discovered the source of the light show that gave rise to the Ctenoides ales clam's nickname -- the disco clam. Most people have assumed that the clam's flashing lights were a form of bioluminescence, but she found instead that it's the edge of the clam's mantle lip, which is highly reflective on one side, and when the clam unfurls its lip, usually twice a second, the reflective surface flashes. Link to video. Stories on this topic have appeared in dozens of sources, including the Daily Mail (UK), Wired, Tech Times, and Nature World News. Full Story

3. One Piece Missing from the Hit-and-Run Puzzle: Prevention
Voice of San Diego

Analysts at Berkeley's Safe Transportation Research and Education Center studied national crash data from 1998 to 2007 and found that 18 percent of the 48,000 pedestrian fatalities those years were from hit-and-runs. Offer Grembek, a research director at the center, says the notion that crime will be deterred by fear of punishment hinges on the belief that a crime will be met with certain, severe and swift consequences. One problem, he says, is that the general public doesn’t understand or consider the punishment for hit-and-runs because few public information campaigns illuminate the consequences of the crime. Furthermore, there’s no link between states with the harshest penalties for hit-and-runs and the rate at which they occur. Full Story

4. Digits Blog: Researchers Use Big Data to Get Around Encryption
Wall Street Journal Online (*requires registration)

A study co-authored by Berkeley electrical engineering and computer science researchers has found that analyzing encrypted Web traffic could reveal highly sensitive private information. Studying major medical, banking and other sites, the researchers report that their strategy made it possible for them to identify sensitive information being searched on the encrypted sites with 90% accuracy. Full Story

5. Providers outspend tech giants in net neutrality fight
San Francisco Chronicle

Telecommunications law instructor James Tuthill, formerly Pacific Bell's chief attorney for FCC matters, weighs in on the net neutrality fight and how the tech world is lagging behind telecommunications providers in their lobbying efforts. "You need (Amazon CEO Jeff) Bezos and (Google Executive Chairman Eric) Schmidt and (Google co-founder) Sergey Brin up in Washington. All the time. Visiting the halls of Congress. Testifying before committees. Speaking to the White House and talking to the FCC," he says. "I don't see that. ... It surprises me, because their management, their resources are equal and they have the intelligence, but they don't focus on it." Full Story

6. Baltimore Joins Cities Toughening Curfews, Citing Safety but Eliciting Concern
New York Times (*requires registration)

Assistant economics professor Patrick Kline is quoted in a story about cities -- such as Baltimore and Philadelphia -- that have passed curfew laws in response to increases in youth violence. He says that while they are often popular with residents, the programs are expensive to sustain. “These are usually short-term measures,” he says. “They tend to have bursts of enforcement, and then they tend to give up.” Full Story

7. Espousing Equality, but Embracing a Hierarchy
New York Times (*requires registration)

Associate business professor Cameron Anderson, a psychologist, is quoted in a story about equality and hierarchy in corporate management. He has written about the dysfunctions of hierarchy and encourages his M.B.A. students to pursue flatness — but not to its ultimate end. “It’s often useful to have at least one person who serves a role of leader,” he said, “even if that role is more of a coordinating function.” Full Story

8. The African country where compasses go haywire
Boston Globe

The Bangui anomaly in the Central African Republic is one of the strongest and most mysterious disturbances in the earth's natural magnetic fields. Some geophysicists hypothesize that the site was the bull's-eye of a massive meteor strike more than a billion years ago. Earth and planetary science professor Raymond Jeanloz classifies the Bangui meteor hypothesis as “interesting but unproven.” He says: “We’ve been slow to recognize the number of craters on the earth. ... We’ve probably overlooked a few dozen.” He notes that the most famous such site, Chicxulub in the Yucatan peninsula, was found and explored only in the last 35 years or so, but it is now thought to be the strike that killed the dinosaurs. Full Story

9. Hillary Clinton's S.F. stop brings buzz to Napolitano, Granholm
San Francisco Chronicle

Hillary Rodham Clinton is visiting San Francisco Wednesday on her book-promotion tour, and with her comes speculation about her potential candidacy for president in 2016 and the political potential of two of her Bay Area allies -- UC President Janet Napolitano and law and public policy professor Jennifer Granholm, formerly governor of Michigan. Full Story

10. Hiking while black: The untold story of black people in the great outdoors
Boston Globe

Assistant environmental science, policy and management professor Carolyn Finney is interviewed about her new book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. She says that if African-Americans don’t figure in our notion of America’s great outdoors, it's because of how the story has been told, and who has been left out, including black pioneers and ordinary people whose contributions to the land have long been ignored. She says that reclaiming those stories could have significant implications for protecting our wilderness in the future. Full Story

11. Why You Stare at Beautiful Things
Psychology Today

Psychology professor Arthur Shimamura's new book, Experiencing Art: In the Brain of the Beholder, is reviewed. "Experiencing Art’s tone is personal, easy to follow, and anecdote- and experiment-filled, the sort of book that, if I’d had it when I was in college, would have answered so many questions for me," the reviewer says. "I think it would have opened a world up for me, the world. ... Shimamura covers such intriguing topics as what your favorite color is and why, how we recognize familiar forms in our environment, universally appreciated simple pleasures, why we create stories, the moral guidelines we find in art, and much more. A joyous blend of psychology, science, and art appreciation." Full Story

12. UC Berkeley project studies the West Coast cocktail

The Bancroft Library's Regional Oral History Office is raising money online to finish a study of the Bay Area's colorful history of mixed drink inventions. Historian Shanna Farrell is leading the project. She is interviewing bartenders, distillers, historians, and bar owners, inquiring about everything from recipes to Prohibition to political and social influences, such as ethnicity, labor, class and gender. Full Story

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