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, 18 September 2013

1. Helping Bacteria Tolerate Biofuels
Chemical & Engineering News

A study led by assistant chemical engineering professor Danielle Tullman-Ercek has discovered a way to create a bacterial protein pump that can pull biofuels out of cells, making microbes better biofuel factories. The finding could speed the industrial production of biofuels. Full Story

2. 4 new species of legless lizard identified
San Francisco Chronicle

Theodore Papenfuss, a research specialist at Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and colleague James Parham, of California State University, Fullerton, have identified four new and separate species of legless lizards in various California habitats. "These four new species must have once been abundant everywhere in the state," Dr. Papenfuss says, "but now it looks as though the unrestricted and growing spread of buildings everywhere has restricted their habitat severely -- more evidence of a serious threat to California's biodiversity." Full Story

3. Experimental Forests Could Lessen Toll of Wildfires

A ten-year Berkeley project to slow and contain forest fires could become a blueprint for fire management across California, this article reports. Developed in an experimental forest at the University of California at Berkeley's Sagehen Creek Field Station near Lake Tahoe, the scientists created pockets of thinner trees in areas where the fire risk is high, while still leaving pockets of dense growth for wildlife habitat. Forest ecology professor John Battles, one of the method's developers, says: "The idea is that you coordinate treatments to change fire behavior across a landscape — a big landscape. ... By treating in certain spots, the fire never really gets rolling hot." Full Story

4. Could fracking the Monterey Shale lead to the next Big One?
Bay Nature

Seismologist Peggy Hellweg and law researcher Michael Kiparsky are quoted in a story about the risks of fracking on the Monterey Shale. Dr. Hellweg weighs in on the question of whether or not the fracking could lead to a major earthquake. “I’m not expecting the Big One to be triggered by this kind of thing,” she concludes, although she does warn about the contaminated "produced water" that must be handled as hazardous waste. Michael Kiparsky, discusses a report he coauthored in April 2013 about the long term risks that fracking presents to the state’s water supply. Full Story

5. Social Isolation Rivals Hypertension as Mortality Risk Factor
Medscape Medical News

Researchers in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program have found that social isolation is a risk factor for premature death that rivals factors such as smoking and high blood pressure. Full Story

6. Household income, poverty rate are flat for first time since recession, census shows
Washington Post

New census data reinforces findings of a report coauthored by Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez. Professor Saez's study indicated that family incomes in the top 1 percent grew by 31 percent while others' rose by just 0.4 percent in the U.S. in 2012. He says the top 10 percent of households enjoyed more than half of all income in the nation, the highest percentage since 1917. Full Story

7. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Comedy Central

Public policy professor Robert Reich discusses income inequality and his new film on the topic with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Link to video. Full Story

8. Op-Ed: Where the Good Jobs Are—and Why
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

Economics professor Enrico Moretti writes about the geographic unevenness of the American economic recovery. He concludes: "Most industries have a multiplier effect. But none has a bigger one than the innovation sector: about three times as large as that of extractive industries or traditional manufacturing. Clearly, the best way for a city or state to generate jobs for everyone is to attract innovative companies that hire highly educated workers." Full Story

9. China Real Time Report Blog: The ‘Legalization’ of China’s Internet Crackdown
Wall Street Journal Online (*requires registration)

Law lecturer Stanley Lubman writes about the Chinese government's efforts to control political discussion on the Internet: "Beijing has launched a multi-pronged offensive against online criticism of current policies and institutions that includes a propaganda campaign, arrests and a duplicative new legal rule that attempts to justify the response and deter future online critiques. ... This call to battle is not new, but its codification in legal dress is disturbing and represents a magnified threat to online discussion and dissent in China." Full Story

10. Cal, Sonny Dykes seek to repair football program's academic woes
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)

Sonny Dykes, Cal's new football coach is working with students to improve the school's score on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate, a statistic that predicts graduation rates, and already the team is showing improvement. After Coach Dykes started in December, the team's collective GPA in the spring semester rose to its highest in five years, above the historical average, and after the first session of summer school it rose to its highest in 10 years. Acknowledging that academic success is "the most important thing" for his players, he says: "They're here to get a degree. ... It's something I take seriously." Full Story

11. UC regents panel approves repairs to former president's home
Los Angeles Times

The UC Regents have approved a $620,000 expenditure to seismically retrofit Blake House, a mansion previously used as the UC president's official residence. While some regents believe it would make more sense to sell the property, there are reasons this would not be ideal. The house was donated to UC in 1957 on the condition that sale funds could only be used to support UC Berkeley's environmental studies and landscape architecture programs. As a result, UC would not be able to buy a new house to serve as the president's residence. Other stories on this topic appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee (AP). Full Story

12. Berkeley: Man attacked after Cal football game, police say
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)

Police are investigating three unrelated assaults reported in the Greek Row area off campus this past weekend. One involved a 25-year-old man who was beaten and robbed after Saturday's football game on Saturday around 11 p.m. at Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way. The other two reportedly involved people trying to crash parties. Another story on this topic appeared on CBS Online. A story about cell phone robberies on campus appeared in the Berkeley Patch. Full Story

13. UC Berkeley en Californie

A Swiss website for students profiles UC Berkeley, in French. Full Story

14. What babies can teach us
Stockton Record

Psychology professor Alison Gopnik is profiled. A developmental psychologist, she has written four books on the cognitive development of young children, including The Scientist in the Crib. She will be the keynote speaker Friday at the third annual Beyond Our Gates Dialogue sponsored by University of the Pacific. Full Story

15. Is it love? The relationship between dogs and humans
KALW Radio

Doctoral psychology student Amy Cook, a dog cognition specialist, discusses the emotional connection between dogs and humans. Link to audio. Full Story

Today's Edition of UC Berkeley in the News