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.

Monday, 20 August 2018

1. Optimism at UC Berkeley as new chancellor addresses problems facing campus
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

Chancellor Carol Christ is given a glowing review for the progress she has made in solving some of Berkeley's greatest challenges, including a significant budget deficit, student housing crisis, morale issues, and free speech protests. "No other chancellor has faced so many issues with so little resources as has this chancellor," comments Charles Marshall, director of Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology. "I feel the campus has the chancellor's back."
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2. NASA's Parker Solar Probe aims to bring the sun's mysteries to light
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

NASA's Parker Solar Probe -- launched on August 12 toward the sun -- carries four instrument suites designed to help scientists at Berkeley and other research organizations study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and take pictures of the solar wind. "What we learn here, we apply to other astrophysical systems," says physics professor Stuart Bale, leader of an experiment measuring electric and magnetic fields. Describing the researchers' efforts to shield their instruments from the solar heat they'll encounter, he says: "It was all an act of heroic thermal engineering." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic have appeared in hundreds of sources around the world, including SatNews.
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3. Monkey Cage Blog: Anti-immigrant forces won a victory at the E.U. This is how immigrants will respond.
Washington Post (*requires registration)

Following a "tenuous agreement" on the management of migrants made by European leaders at a summer summit, law professor Katerina Linos and doctoral students Laura Jakli and Melissa Carlson write about their research on refugees' experiences at the height of the European refugee crisis. Aggregating and analyzing more than 6,000 interviews and more than 10,000 social media posts, they mapped and visualized the data on an interactive website called Digital Refuge. Summarizing their findings, they conclude: "Overall, we expect refugee communities to react to recent changes to E.U. migration policy in ways that result in negative feedback cycles that exacerbate the crisis."
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4. Op-Ed: Green energy is gold for California, US
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

"I am a physicist, and an energy and sustainability science researcher, and I live in California because of its penchant for not just setting but actually achieving big goals and adopting bold visions others may consider too ambitious," writes energy professor Daniel Kammen, founding director of Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory and director of the campus's Center for Environmental Public Policy, in a commentary advocating passage of Senate Bill 100 -- the "100 Percent Clean Energy Act." The law targets 100 percent clean, zero-carbon electricity by 2045. Reviewing relevant history and global imperatives for climate change action, he concludes: "As the world will see at the Global Climate Action Summit that California will host Sept. 12-14 in San Francisco, we have demonstrated the capacity and leadership needed to achieve big goals. SB100 sets a new goal for a clean, healthy and profitable energy system. With the global clean energy market growing far faster than the fossil-fuel sector, what California is doing is a good business decision for the state and the nation."
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5. Top 10 Colleges for Engineering Majors
College Magazine

Berkeley's engineering program ranks third in the U.S., according to a new ranking by College Magazine. According to the blurb: "Nerd alert. If you spent more time on a computer than at high school football games, consider UC Berkeley your new home. The engineering department at UC Berkeley maintains five different buildings, including the massive Bechtel Engineering Center. It houses computers and rooms for students to rent out to work on research like robotic exoskeletons for the disabled or molecular surgery to improve cancer outcomes. Talk about making a difference in the world. The university also prides itself on its prominent research in the computer engineering and science field, like the Agile Design of Efficient Processing Technologies (ADEPT) project, which works to lower the cost of custom silicon. UCB also has a Data-X lab which conducts research in bridging the gap between theory and practice in real-world engineering. If the passion for innovation burns inside of you, then Berkeley fits perfectly." Link to video.
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6. Another sign of hard times for teachers? They make up nearly 10 percent of Airbnb hosts.
Washington Post (*requires registration)

An Airbnb survey has found that nearly 1 in 10 of its rental hosts are teachers, suggesting another indicator that teachers' pay is insufficient by itself. Labor economist Sylvia Allegretto, co-chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at Berkeley's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, has written about the widening pay gap between teachers and other college graduates. "Basically, teachers are falling further and further behind," she says. Referring to supplementary incomes like the Airbnb opportunity some teachers have, she says: "This is not the public policy that we need to solve the crisis in teacher pay. Having them work more jobs because they're not paid competitive salaries is not what we need. We need to invest in teachers' salaries, and we need to invest in public schools."
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7. A traumatic brain injury may increase the risk of suicide, study says
Washington Post (*requires registration)

A new study from Denmark suggests that a significant portion of the country's suicides were by people who had also suffered traumatic brain injuries. The study highlights what psychology and neuroscience professor Robert Knight calls a "really simple" imperative: "It should lead to a sea change in how TBIs are handled. ... If you had the same amount of injury to a language center of your brain, you'd be sent to a speech pathologist. Bottom line: People should not be sent out of ER without a follow-up" with a psychiatrist or psychologist.
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8. Randy Schekman to Leave eLife
The Scientist (*requires registration)

Molecular and cell biology professor and Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman has announced that he will be stepping down from his position as founding editor-in-chief of the pioneering open-access journal eLife. He plans to devote himself instead to Aligning Science Across Parkinson's, an organization dedicated to developing research strategies addressing Parkinson's Disease.
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