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, 16 September 2013

1. Emissions to be monitored on major Bay Area roads
San Francisco Chronicle

Air quality regulators will begin monitoring major roadways in Bay Area and other cities across the United States next year under new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements. Two recent Berkeley studies have raised alarms about the health risks of air pollution. One study of more than 73,000 California residents linked chronic air-pollution exposure to death from heart disease, and another study linked nitrogen dioxide exposure in infancy with asthma suffered later in childhood. Environmental health sciences professor John Balmes, coauthor of the latter study and a member of the scientific review panel that helped draft the federal law requiring the program, says the monitors will provide an up-to-date and comprehensive look at traffic emissions, with real-time data posted on the air district's website. "If you want to get a handle on controlling traffic emissions and seeing the effect of interventions to control traffic emissions, you need to be monitoring on a regular basis," he says. Full Story

2. Bill for quake-warning system goes to governor
San Francisco Chronicle

State legislators have given final and unanimous approval to a bill authorizing a new earthquake early earthquake warning system, and the bill is now awaiting Governor Jerry Brown's signature. The system would be based on a network of quake sensors co-designed and co-operated by UC Berkeley researchers. Associate earth and planetary science professor Richard Allen, director of Berkeley's Seismological Laboratory and a leader in the system's development, says: "We're extremely delighted that the legislators are aware how important it will be to have a full-scale early-warning system operating in seismically active California." Full Story

3. Summers Withdraws Name for Fed Chairmanship
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

Lawrence Summers has withdrawn his name from the list of candidates to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. While Berkeley economics professor emeritus Janet Yellen has generally been considered a leading rival to Summers, this article reports that the avid lobbying that Democrats and economists have conducted on her behalf has "annoyed the president ... and may lead him to look elsewhere." Related stories appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle (1), San Francisco Chronicle (2), and Associated Press. Full Story

4. Op-Ed: Okay Mr. President, Now Nominate Janet Yellen Already
San Francisco Chronicle

A commentator calls for President Obama to now nominate Berkeley economics professor emeritus Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve. He raises the point of view of Berkeley economics professor Brad DeLong, a colleague of Yellen and frequent collaborator of Lawrence Summers, Yellen's rival for the job until Summers withdrew from the contest. Professor DeLong had supported the nomination of Summers in part, reportedly, because he was afraid that Summers' opponents could create a monster if President Obama rejected Yellen and then instead chose other candidates who would be worse for economic policy. Full Story

5. The rich keep getting richer as the combined net worth of America’s 400 richest rises
Washington Post

An analysis of Internal Revenue Service data coauthored by Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez illuminates how, as a Forbes editor says, "the mega rich are mega richer." Other stories mentioning Professor Saez's research appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and San Jose Mercury News. Full Story

6. Op-Ed: Syria distracting from myriad troubles at home
San Francisco Chronicle

Public policy professor Robert Reich writes that the situation in Syria is distracting Americans from domestic economic problems requiring immediate action. "We are paralyzed at home -- as we turn our attention to a potential quagmire abroad. This is the great tragedy of our time," he concludes. Full Story

7. Political Blotter: Berkeley political tech startup gets new name, focus and funding
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)

Politify, a Berkeley startup that created a public-policy simulator to help people understand which presidential candidate's tax and budget plan would best suit their households' and communities' finances, has changed its name to Outline and received new funding from the state of Massachusetts. Outline is based on a model constructed by a team of data scientists and economists from Berkeley, MIT, and the University of Illinois. Full Story

8. Watch What You Think. Others Can.
Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration)

A story about advances in brain scanning technology discusses a research breakthrough by Berkeley psychology professor Jack Gallant, who reconstructed, on video monitors, scenes of images that test subjects were viewing by examining their brain data. Full Story

9. Say Goodbye to the Password
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

A story about new security technologies designed to bypass the need for passwords mentions Berkeley research into the use of brain waves for authentication. The researchers were able to read the brainwaves of test subjects with 99% accuracy through headsets that measured test subjects' brain-wave signals. In theory, this study could lead to "passthoughts." Full Story

10. A neglected peril: Vietnamese Americans and Agent Orange
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)

A story about the neglected problem of Vietnamese-Americans' elevated risk of cancer due to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War cites research by Berkeley public health professor Brenda Eskenazi. She had investigated dioxin exposure during a large industrial accident in Italy in 1976 and found an "elevated risk of cancer, period." Full Story

11. California, China to link climate-change efforts
San Francisco Chronicle

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a memorandum of understanding with China's lead international climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, in what this article calls an "innovative new link between California and the Chinese government to cooperate on a range of low-carbon economic ventures." According to Berkeley agricultural and resource economics professor Max Auffhammer, "It's a step in the right direction, but it's not a solution in any way." Full Story

12. Berkeley lab's contract loss threatens Richmond expansion
San Francisco Chronicle

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has lost an expected $1.5 billion contract to build the world's most sophisticated super X-ray microscope. This could affect the lab's planned expansion on UC Berkeley property in Richmond, since the extra space is no longer needed. This is a corrected version that appeared after UC Berkeley contacted the paper. Another story on this topic appeared in the San Francisco Business Times. Full Story

13. Letters to the Editor: U. of California Doesn’t Squeeze Needy Students
Chronicle of Higher Education Online (*requires registration)

David Alcocer, interim director of student financial support in UC's Office of the President, responds to the article “Public Colleges’ Quest for Revenue and Prestige Squeezes Needy Students” (September 11). Noting that the article "inaccurately generalizes financial-aid trends in public higher education and does not reflect those at the nation’s largest public research-university system, the University of California," he highlights need-based grants in the UC system. "Our Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan ensures that students with annual family incomes up to $80,000 will have their system-wide tuition and fees covered through a combination of federal Pell Grants, Cal Grants, and UC grants and scholarships," he writes. "Because of this program, one-half of our undergraduates pay no tuition or fees, while another 19 percent have such costs partially covered." Full Story

14. The Search for Moscow's Train-Riding Dogs
Moscow Times

Recent alum Rebecca Hui writes about her investigation of the legendary stories of stray dogs that use Moscow's subway system to survive in a an otherwise inhospitable city. Hui is a 2013 UC Berkeley graduate who is now a Fulbright Scholar living in India and studying the changing coexistence of animals and humans in developing cities. She won 2nd place last year in the Big Ideas@Berkeley "Creative Expression for Social Justice" category for her project "The Secret Life of Urban Animals." Full Story

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