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, 18 July 2014

1. Risk of earthquake increased for one-third of US
Washington Post

Berkeley researchers contributed to updated seismic hazard maps issued by the U.S. Geological Survey. The maps take into account research from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan and the unexpected 2011 Virginia temblor, and raise the estimated risk for one-third of the country, while lowering it for one-tenth. The Berkeley researchers contributed a better model to simulate shaking. Stories on this topic appeared in dozens of sources around the world, including National Geographic and CBS Local Online. Full Story

2. Diverse worlds of animals and plants disappearing
Earth Times

A study led by integrative biology professor Brent Mishler, director of Berkeley's University and Jebson Herbaria, has created a new model for using big data analysis to pinpoint hotspots of plant and animal diversity. The research will help scientists and conservationists identify disappearing species, so that they can protect their habitats before it's too late. Full Story

3. Blog: Do Central American Children on the US Border Deserve More?
LA Progressive

Anthropology professor Rosemary Joyce writes about the crisis of children seeking asylum in the U.S. from Honduras and other countries south of the border. From 1977 until 2009, she conducted research in Honduras for her doctoral dissertation. She says: "So when I see media reports of angry mobs turning away these children ... I do not picture a faceless horde. ... I see the faces of children I have known, whose families are desperate enough to raise what one news report says can be as much as $3,000 -- almost a year’s income for a Honduran lucky enough to have a full time job -- to send a child to the U.S. in the hope that he or she will not become a victim of violence." Noting the various ways that U.S. policies have fueled that violence, she concludes: "These refugees are children. They deserve support. Not hatred, and not a hasty return to a country where they face horrors and risk death. ... As my colleague Beatriz Manz argues, the U.S. should “insure that the rights of the children fleeing to this country are fully respected and that they are treated humanely. This approach would be in the finest traditions of the US and live up to the values we prize." Full Story

4. Blog: Putting Children’s Migration in Context
LA Progressive

Geography and ethnic studies professor Beatriz Manz writes about the questions Americans should ask about the children seeking asylum in the U.S. from countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The first is "how do we aid these traumatized, troubled young people?" The second is "why are these children fleeing now?" Most critically, "what should the US do now?" She concludes: "As a start, we need to do two things: first, insure that the rights of the children fleeing to this country are fully respected and that they are treated humanely. ... Second, a long-term Central American-style Marshall Plan is essential to address the structural,economic, and social problems these countries face. ... Only when young people see a future for themselves in their home countries will the migrations be held in check. Ironically, while this program would involve considerable resources, it could prove by far the most cost-effective approach. ... And, in the meantime, we would honor the inspiring words that grace the Statue of Liberty." Full Story

5. Monkey Cage Blog: Financing Africa’s democratic opposition
Washington Post Online

Associate political science professor Leonardo Arriola writes about the topic of his recent book, Multiethnic Coalitions in Africa: Business Financing of Opposition Election Campaigns. He concludes: "Businesspeople in Africa fund opposition politicians because increased political competition can be good for their bottom line. Using data from the World Bank’s Doing Business surveys, I find that the emergence of opposition coalitions is subsequently associated with friendlier business conditions in African countries. ... The question remains whether those incumbents, or their business-funded opponents, can be induced to adopt policies that benefit the impoverished citizens who vote for them." Full Story

6. Editorial: UC regents have bigger issues than student rep debate
Los Angeles Times

An editorial weighs in on the controversy that preceded UCLA Jewish student Avi Oved's confirmation as a student regent, joining Berkeley Muslim student Sadia Saifuddin on the board. Representing a microcosm of the Middle-East conflict, both students confronted significant opposition when nominated, and this editorial concludes: "The people involved in these squabbles should take a cue from the two student appointees themselves, who have, for the most part, said the right things. Oved said he would 'reach out to communities that may have felt uncomfortable' with his nomination. And despite casting the only vote to delay Oved's confirmation, Saifuddin welcomed the opportunity to work with him and to help guide him 'through the myriad moral and political factors' student regents face. ... The UC system faces a broad range of complicated issues that will require an immense amount of time and energy; this is not one of them. Let the real work begin." Full Story

7. UCSF chancellor pay set at $750,000; 3% raises to other UC execs
Los Angeles Times

The UC regents decided compensation rates for chancellors and top administrators at their meeting on Thursday, and most will receive 3 percent increases. Faculty and nonunionized staff also received 3 percent raises this year, while many unionized employees received more. All employees had to increase their contributions to pension funds. Full Story

8. The List: Kaiser ranks No. 1 on largest 100 Bay Area employers list
San Francisco Business Times (*requires registration)

The San Francisco Business Times' annual ranking of the Bay Area's largest employers places UC Berkeley 3rd, with 23,962 employees. It follows Kaiser Permanente and the City and County of San Francisco. Full Story

9. The 10 Best Universities For Robotics In The US
San Francisco Chronicle

Ten leading robotics programs are listed, starting with UC Berkeley's. Among its departments are one devoted to replicating animal movement to improve robotic mobility, one that addresses more general robotics work for such purposes as robot-assisted surgery and automated manufacturing, and another that works on making sense of robots' vision. "It's an incredibly robust college for robotics that will likely meet your interests no matter what they are," the article reports. Full Story

10. Obituary: Heino Nitsche, Berkeley Chemistry Professor, Dies Suddenly
NBC Bay Area Online

Chemistry professor Heino Nitsche, this year's winner of the Hevesy Medal for outstanding achievements in radioanalytical and nuclear chemistry, has died at the age of 64. He had been connected with UC Berkeley for more than 30 years, and recently helped confirm the existence of elements 114 and 117. He was founding director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Glenn T. Seaborg Center. Full Story

11. Forum with Michael Krasny: Malaysian Jet Crash in Ukraine
KQED Radio

Public policy professor Michael Nacht joins a discussion of the Malaysian Airlines jet crash in eastern Ukraine. Link to audio. Full Story

12. A Call to Fight Malaria One Mosquito at a Time by Altering DNA
New York Times (*requires registration)

Molecular and cell biology professor Jennifer Doudna weighs in on some newly published papers that propose fighting malaria with a genetic engineering technique called CRISPR, which she co-developed. She says the researchers might be too optimistic. “Realistically, it’s not going to go as easily as they make it sound,” she says, although she acknowledges that with enough time, scientists could make the technique work, at least in some species. "On longer time scales, the potential is very real." Full Story

13. Federal judge rules California death penalty unconstitutional
Los Angeles Times

Law professor Elisabeth Semel, director of Berkeley Law's Death Penalty Clinic, comments on a federal judge's ruling Wednesday that California's death penalty system is so arbitrary and beset by delays that it "violates the Eigth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment." She says the decision is "unprecedented in the modern death penalty in California," adding: "This is an issue that has been discussed in California for decades. ... What he did is both amass and synthesize what [this means] in the context of the 8th Amendment." Professor Semel also discussed the ruling on KPFK Radio--link to audio. Full Story

14. Research supports the notion of the ‘hot hand’; baseball players always believed in it
Washington Post

Researchers have long refuted the "hot hand" theory that baseball players and others take for granted -- that a player enjoying a hot streak is more likely to perform better on the next play. But newer research, including a study co-authored by assistant business professor Brett Green, has found evidence that the players are right -- hot streaks are real. Professor Green and his Stanford colleague studied two million MLB at-bats from 2000 to 2011, and found that a hitter's past 25 at-bats were a significant predictor of his next at-bat. Full Story

15. Speakeasy Blog: Could Your Child Be a Music Prodigy?
Wall Street Journal Online (*requires registration)

Adjunct music professor Jeanne Bamberger's forthcoming book Discovering the Musical Mind is mentioned in a story about new research on child prodigies. Professor Bamberger looked at prodigies' difficult transitions to adulthood. In adolescence, gifted students start questioning how they were able to “just do” the music that had made them special as children, and they are often bewildered when their skill no longer feels so spontaneous. This leads some to quit performing altogether. She calls this crisis “not much talked about and certainly little studied,” and says that teachers need to help young prodigies think more about their musical performances, which involves a self-consciousness traditionally viewed as an inhibitor of creativity, hence discouraged. Full Story

16. With big soccer game approaching, UC Berkeley addresses impacts from Memorial Stadium

Representatives of UC Berkeley and the city of Berkeley invited residents in the Memorial Stadium neighborhood to discuss the impact of upcoming events, including the July 26 International Champions Cup soccer game. Fire safety, public intoxication, illegal parking and the possibility of a significant disaster were among the concerns addressed. Christine Shaff, communications director for facilities services, moderated the meeting. Full Story

17. Real Madrid C.F. vs. Inter Milan at Memorial Stadium
San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle subscribers are invited to participate in a raffle for tickets to watch Spain's soccer team Real Madrid play Italy's Inter Milan at Berkeley's Memorial Stadium on Saturday, July 26. The tickets are for club level seats, and the raffle form is due before midnight on July 21. Five pairs of tickets are available. Full Story

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