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, 16 July 2014

1. NASA’s Van Allen probes show how to accelerate electrons
R&D Magazine

Physics professor Forrest Mozer, associate director of Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, has been studying data from probes of the Van Allen radiation belts surrounding Earth. The observations are helping to explain how particles in the belts can speed up to nearly the speed of light. "It is important to understand how this process happens," he says. "Not only do we think a similar process happens on the sun and around other planets, but these fast particles can damage the electronics in spacecraft and affect astronauts in space." Full Story

2. Opinion L.A.: House panel decides it doesn't want Californians to fall into the sea
Los Angeles Times

A congressional committee in Washington has given bipartisan support to a West Coast effort to develop an Earthquake Early Warning System, recommending an initial allocation of $5 million for the project. The amount was one third of what was requested, but it will allow the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners, including Berkeley researchers, to start moving the project out of its testing phase. That means deploying sensors along the West Coast to detect waves radiating from the epicenter of a quake and notify people through phones, radio and TV. Stories on this topic appeared in more than a dozen sources, including the Contra Costa Times, Orange County Weekly, NBC Bay Area Online, Berkeley Patch, and KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) – link to audio. Full Story

3. EPA Awards $200K In Grants To Bay Area Companies Developing Green Tech
CBS SF Bay Area Online

SimpleWater LLC has been awarded a $100,000 contract for the development of its innovative green technology as part of the Environmental Protection Agency's Small Business Innovative Research program. The company is collaborating with UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to create more affordable water treatment methods using electrochemical arsenic removal technology. Full Story

4. A Class Discovery Platform: By Students, for Students

Three Berkeley undergraduates – Yuxin Zhu, Noah Gilmore and Ashwin Iyengar – have created an interactive website designed to help students choose classes. Called Berkeleytime, it gathers all of the school's curricular information in one place, allowing students to filter and sort by thousands of criteria. Full Story

5. Cal Grads Try to Save UC Berkeley’s Peace and Conflict Studies Program
East Bay Express

Alumni Annie Gorden and Shawndeez Davari Jadali, recent graduates of the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) program, have started an online petition to improve funding and support for the program. PACS, introduced in 1985, is offered through the International and Area Studies Department. Gorden and Jadali claim that staffing has dropped, the number of courses has been slashed, and enrollment has dropped by 36 percent since 2010. Full Story

6. UC System reconsiders policy barring discrimination against non-American researchers
Inside Higher Ed

UC officials are reconsidering a policy that prevents the university from discriminating against non-American researchers. The question arises as federal research funding dwindles and federal authorities become increasingly concerned about work that could harm national security. Restrictions on fundamental research are a key concern for research universities. As this article explains: "So-called 'fundamental research,' which can be basic or applied research, is generally excluded from export controls. Most research at the University of California at Berkeley, for instance, is considered fundamental because there are no restrictions on publication of findings and because the research team does not exclude foreign nationals." Full Story

7. Nancy Scheper-Hughes Responds to Our Profile, ‘The Organ Detective’
Pacific Standard

Anthropology professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes writes a response to a profile of her -- "The Organ Detective: A Career Spent Uncovering a Hidden Global Market in Human Flesh" -- that was published in the July/August issue of Pacific Standard. She refutes the claim that she has a "deep animus toward the medical establishment" and discusses omitted details regarding a scandal at a forensic institute in Israel. Full Story

8. Study emphasizes role of exercise in controlling weight
San Francisco Chronicle

Adjunct public health professor Patricia Crawford, director of Berkeley's Center for Weight and Health, weighs in on a new study finding that American's weight gain over the past 30 years is more attributable to lack of exercise than calories consumed. She says: "You can eat a Big Mac in 15 minutes, and it takes an hour to take that off with biking. ... There's just no comparison -- there's no way we can exercise off a bad diet. The days aren't long enough." However, she acknowledges it's a mistake to de-emphasize exercise when it comes to weight loss. She a member of the committee that issued the Institute of Medicine's 2012 report on obesity in the U.S., and one of the priorities reported was that Americans need to increase physical activity. Full Story

9. All Things Considered: Morals Clauses Prove Controversial For Catholic School Teachers

Law professor Melissa Murray comments on the legal strategy behind Catholic schools' controversial morality clauses. "The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted from the text of the First Amendment what is known as a ministerial exception," she says, and that holds that if you are hired as a minister, then you can be fired for religious reasons. She also says that contract language elevating teachers to the role of ministers can be seen as a reaction to more and more states legalizing same-sex marriage. Link to audio. Full Story

10. Marketplace: Corporate inversion: an expensive way to save on taxes

Law professor Steven Davidoff Solomon discusses an increasingly popular tax maneuver known as an inversion – in which a U.S. company can adopt a new homeland for tax purposes when acquiring another company, thereby lowering its taxes and giving it access to cash held abroad. “What’s going on now is a feeding frenzy,” he says. “Every investment banker now has a slide deck that they’re taking to any possible company and saying, ‘you have to do a corporate inversion now, because if you don’t, your competitors will.’” Link to audio. Full Story

11. How '6 Californias' creates a state of confusion
San Francisco Chronicle

If a proposal to divide California into six new states were to prevail, Silicon Valley would be the richest state in the union, based on per-capita income, and home to UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz and four other state universities, not to mention Stanford. Full Story

12. Announcing Uncharted 2014: 2 days spent with the great thinkers of today to find out what’s coming tomorrow

Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014 will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 24-25, this year, and headliners from the campus will include molecular and cell biology professor and Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele. Introduced last year by independent news site Berkeleyside, the forum includes discussions, debates and workshops. It will be held at Berkeley Rep and Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, with a Friday night party at the University Club at Memorial Stadium. For more information, visit: Full Story

Today's Edition of UC Berkeley in the News