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, 14 July 2014

1. Nanolasers on Silicon to Provide Faster Data Transmission

New technology in development at Berkeley promises to ensure that fiber optic networks will be able to keep pace with consumer demand for speed and seamless data flow. It involves growing lasers on silicon , the base layer of choice for electronic devices. The lasers, called nanoneedles, are one-tenth the width of a human hair. According to electrical engineering and computer science professor Connie Chang-Hasnain, the lead researcher: "On any given integrated circuit now, the electrical power dedicated for communication is really high and bandwidth limited, especially for higher speed trunk lines." Optical approaches such as lasers reduce power consumption and noise between components and increase speed, she says. "It’s the difference between using a local roadway and a superhighway.” Full Story

2. Biotech SF Blog: California takes leap forward in brain research
San Francisco Business Times (*requires registration)

The field of neuroscience, according to this article "considered by some as the last great frontier of the human body," is buzzing in California. Among the local projects is the development of a device that tracks brain signals in people with anxiety or depression, for which UC Berkeley, UCSF, Livermore Labs and others won a $26 million grant from President Obama's BRAIN Initiative. Full Story

3. Unrestricted Funding, Famous Alums Fuel Coveted Fellowship For Social Entrepreneurs

Doctoral agricultural and resource economics student Gavin McCormick and alumna Anna Schneider are the beneficiaries of an Echoing Green 2014 Climate Fellowship, which is helping to turn their project WattTime into a startup. Started as a Berkeley student project, WattTime helps homeowners, building managers, and organizations learn where their electricity comes from and choose sources they wish to support. Their "environmental demand response" software platform combines real-time data and analytics to inform consumers and to enable smart devices to automatically prioritize cleaner power sources. “We’re so thrilled to have gotten Echoing Green with the financial help and the community. It’s really an inspiring group of people,” Schneider says. “You don’t always walk into a room and say, ‘Wow, all these people are going to change the world,’” McCormick added. Full Story

4. A business plan and two very determined entrepreneurs
Financial Times (UK)

TubeMogul, a video advertising software company founded by three alumni of Berkeley's Haas School of Business, is profiled as it aims to raise $75 million in its initial public offering. The founders are John Hughes, Brett Wilson, and Mark Rotblat, and Wilson acknowledges, "There would definitely have been no TubeMogul if it had not been for Haas.” Hughes says: "We were literally building it while we were at school. Every single class was an incubator.” Full Story

5. The First Three Pillars of Positive Technology
Forbes Online

A commentary on the "emergence of a new category in consumer technology devoted to the development and democratization of tools that promote mental fitness" holds up a massive open online course (MOOC) at Berkeley as the trend's "most striking illustration." Sponsored by the Greater Good Science Center, it is expecting to attract as many as 100,000 students when it begins this Fall. Through the class, this writer says: "Not only is edtech accelerating the dissemination of tools and practices of positive technology, it is also accelerating the creation of teachers. One of GGSC’s goals for the course is to train the next generation of trainers, and the MOOC has the potential to reach and teach many kinds of trainers from many walks of life around the world." Full Story

6. Ideas
Boston Globe

A Berkeley survey of registered voters found that their perceptions of the views of liberals and conservatives were more extreme than the truth warranted. Conservatives' views of liberals' stances were especially inaccurate. Furthermore, people’s stated positions were sensitive to how far apart liberals and conservatives were portrayed, and portraying more polarization caused people to state more polarized positions. Full Story

7. All Things Considered: At Venice Beach, Rich, Poor And Middle Class Coexist

Harvard economist Nathan Hendren co-authored a study of economic mobility with Berkeley researchers. He discusses their findings on this program, saying: "If you're from a poor background, you don't want to be in an area where the poor are segregated from the rest of the population. Across the U.S. areas where rich and poor live together tend to have higher rates of mobility than areas where the poor and the rich are segregated." Link to audio. Full Story

8. Merit, Diversity and Grad Admissions
Inside Higher Ed

A story about college admissions and diversity includes a discussion of the competition among elite schools for black students. An economist says: "I think people care most about intellectual diversity -- that people arrive with different interests, different preparations, and are likely to write very different theses on different topics. I think that’s the type of diversity we would value most. I mean gender is an issue in that we get good -- we get top-notch women as well top-notch men. Black -- we get fewer blacks. It’s true. But we do try -- in the past we’ve tried to attract them. But then they get the same attractive offers from Columbia and Yale and Stanford and Berkeley and so forth. So it’s a small group typically who get a lot of attention." Full Story

9. Op-Ed: The Corruption of Peer Review Is Harming Scientific Credibility
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

A commentator writes about flaws in the academic publishing peer-review system. Questioning the findings of various studies, including two from Berkeley, he alleges that there can be "serious consequences if bad science leads to bad policy." He quotes Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor Michael Eisen, a co-founder of the non-profit science publisher Public Library of Science, who said: "We need to get away from the notion, proven wrong on a daily basis, that peer review of any kind at any journal means that a work of science is correct. What it means is that a few (1-4) people read it over and didn't see any major problems. That's a very low bar in even the best of circumstances." Full Story

10. DealBook: With Merger, Tobacco Takes On Technology
New York Times (*requires registration)

Law professor Steven Davidoff Solomon, author of Gods at War: Shotgun Takeovers, Government by Deal and the Private Equity Implosion, writes about the merger of Reynolds American and Lorillard, the second- and third-largest cigarette companies in the U.S. Noting that the merger has to do with "coping with a declining industry," he says it is "also about fear: fear that new technology [in this case, e-cigarettes] will put an end to your old business." Full Story

11. Retirement saving makes one wealthy, healthy
USA Today

A new study has found that workers who save for retirement are more likely to care for their health than those who aren’t. Responding to the study and the question "What can be done to help you become healthy and wealthy," given this study, business and finance professor Terrance Odean says: "What to tell investors? ... Save for retirement and exercise. The same advice I would have given yesterday." Full Story

12. Readers Are Better Romantics, Studies Suggest
Huffington Post Canada

Associate education professor Anne E. Cunningham comments on research suggesting that fiction readers show more empathy than their peers, and are also more likely to fall in love and become intimate with another person. She has found that readers, especially those who start at a younger age, develop increased vocabulary and emotional intelligence through "language exposure" -- a nurtured ability that results in stronger communication skills. Full Story

13. Marine captain refused to leave Afghan interpreter behind
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

Afghanistan Marine veteran and Berkeley Law student Adrian Kinsella has finally prevailed in his 3-1/2-year effort to help his former interpreter get a U.S. visa and escape from Afghanistan. The man -- Mohammad -- had been marked for death by the Taliban for his assistance to Americans, his father had been tortured and murdered, and his younger brother held for ransom. Kinsella couldn't rest when his tour ended, knowing he'd left Mohammed in harm's way. Today, the two are roommates as Kinsella attends law school and Mohammad works at a high-tech company. "Adrian is my interpreter now," Mohammad said. "But he's still not as good as I was for him," he jokes. Kinsella plans to become a Marine judge advocate when he graduates next year. Full Story

14. Mexico's consul general harvests dangerous ideas for change
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

A profile of Andrés Isaac Roemer Slomianski, Mexico's consul general in San Francisco, mentions his connection to UC Berkeley. The alumnus is a diplomat, political analyst, attorney, economist, think tank founder, author of 16 books and two award-winning plays, and creator of "La Ciudad de Ideas," an annual forum exploring ideas and culture. At the campus' commencement this past June, he was the first Mexican to receive Berkeley's Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award. He told graduates about the joy he felt upon receiving his doctorate in public policy from Cal in 1994. As a Mexican, he said, he was seized by a powerful need to shout his happiness to the world, but as a good Jewish son, his first instinct was "to call my mother." Full Story

15. Obituary: Peter Marler dies at 86, bird scientist, birdsong, animal behaviorist
Los Angeles Times

UC Davis Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior professor Peter Marler, a former Berkeley lecturer and researcher, has died at the age of 86. A bird specialist, he was "widely considered to be the father of North American avian bioacoustics," according to author Don Stap in his 2005 book Birdsong. "His early work at Berkeley on the white-crowned sparrow is probably the most cited paper in the literature, and it led to so much subsequent research that the bird has been studied more than any other songbird on the continent." Full Story

Today's Edition of UC Berkeley in the News