Berkeley in the News

Berkeley in the News is a daily selection of articles and commentaries in the news media that mention UC Berkeley. The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

1. Computer Chip Visionaries Win Turing Award
New York Times (*requires registration)

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor emeritus David Patterson and colleague John Hennessy of Stanford have won this year's Turing Award for their pioneering work on computer chip design. Their pivotal and counterintuitive idea was that computers and other digital machines would be more powerful if they used a simpler type of computer chip architecture, called RISC, for "reduced instruction set computer." More than 99 percent of all new chips use the RISC architecture now, and the innovation gave rise to smartphones and other small devices. The Turing Award is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of computing, and it comes with a $1 million prize. For more on this, see our story at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic appeared in hundreds of sources around the world, including the Mercury News, Wired, Fast Company,, CNET, and San Francisco Chronicle.
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2. Something's Brewing in the Lab: Beer Without Hops
New York Times (*requires registration)

It can take 50 pints of water to grow the hops needed for just one pint of beer, but now a team of Berkeley researchers has discovered that they can make a beer that tastes equally hoppy using an engineered brewer's yeast. The finding could make brewing a more sustainable process. "The real challenge of the study was to produce strains that produce flavor molecules at the right concentrations without sacrificing other aspects of the brewing yeast performance," says Charles Denby, a postdoctoral researcher in chemical and biomolecular engineering, and one of the study's lead authors. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic have appeared in dozens of sources around the world, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Guardian, Forbes, New Scientist, R&D, NewsCaf (Canada), Chemistry World (Great Britain), The Drinks Business, Graffio Tech (Italy), Topactu (France), Technology Networks (Great Britain), Free Malaysia Today, Quartz (India), and MyScience.
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3. Women's-Studies Students Across the Nation Are Editing Wikipedia
Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration)

Sponsored by the Wiki Education Foundation and the National Women's Studies Association, students nationwide are editing and adding Wikipedia entries in an effort to close the site's gender gap. Since 2014, the students have added more than three million words and edited 9,855 articles. According to Allison Kimmich, director of the National Women's Studies Association: "There was really an amazing class that took place at UC Berkeley, and the faculty member was [ethnic studies professor Juana] María Rodríguez. Her students edited 135 articles, which is pretty incredible, over the course of one semester. It really covered all kinds of topics. For example, there was LGBT rights in Nepal, LGBT culture in San Francisco, but then there was one about Sikhism, the religion, and sexual orientation, pornography in India. ... The other pretty amazing thing about that course in particular: They created 19 articles. Editing articles is much more common, but there's a pretty high bar to having new articles created. And so the number of articles that students have created is relatively small versus the articles that they've edited. But the fact that those students created 19 is pretty incredible."
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4. Chevron Will Stick to IPCC Findings in Landmark Climate Change Trial
Scientific American

Oil companies being sued by a number of California cities and counties for their contributions to climate change are not expected to dispute the existence of climate change in court today. According to law professor Daniel Farber, their strategy may be to indicate that there was "more uncertainty until recently," so they can counter accusations that they understood the risks and "were simply lying in their public statements or were completely irresponsible to oppose regulation at earlier points in time." Professor Ferber adds that "whether it helps them enough isn't clear to me," but he does believe it's noteworthy that they intend to acknowledge the accuracy of climate science. "Most or all of the major oil corporations have now acknowledged the reality of climate change and the need for government action (though who knows how serious they are about that). ... So it would be hard for them to take a contrary view in this litigation. Getting them to say the same thing in court will be kind of a victory for the plaintiffs even if nothing else goes their way."
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5. Robert B. Reich: The menace of a mad king
Baltimore Sun

"Donald Trump is moving into a new and more dangerous phase," writes public policy professor Robert Reich, referring to the president's efforts to remove some of his administration's "few adults" (Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster and John Kelly). "Narcissists are dangerous because they think only about themselves," he says. "Megalomaniacs are dangerous because they think only about their power and invincibility. A narcissistic megalomaniac who's unconstrained -- and who's also president of the United States -- is about as dangerous as they come." Going on to discuss the possible outcomes of Trump acting on his own intuition in potentially catastrophic scenarios at home and abroad, Professor Reich concludes: "The mind boggles. Who knows what a mad king will do when no adults remain to supervise him?"
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6. Acclaimed soprano Julia Bullock channels Nina Simone, Billie Holiday in Berkeley
Mercury News (*requires registration)

Soprano Julia Bullock and pianist John Arida have a date with Cal Performances on Sunday, March 25, with a varied program of classical songs by Schubert, Faurė, and Barber, and jazz and blues classics made famous by her musical heroes, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. For more on this, visit Cal Performances.
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7. Big Screen Berkeley: 'Play the Devil'

"Play the Devil," a film written and directed by Maria Govan and co-produced by the Caribbean nations of the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago, will be screened at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive on March 22. The screening is one of the entries in the archive's "African Film Festival 2018." The film is a fictional story taking place during the days before Carnival, and this critic calls it an "excellent little film that deserved much wider exposure than the brief run it received on the festival circuit." For more on this, visit BAMPFA.
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