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.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

1. Hulu's 'The Bear' and the Restaurant Industry's Long Overdue Reckoning
The New York Times (*requires registration)

In a guest essay, Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage; the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley , writes: The restaurant industry's inequitable culture is a direct product of the politics of greed and structural racism. When the United States abolished slavery, white restaurant owners resented having to pay newly freed Black workers, particularly Black women — so they invented the idea that tips could be a replacement for wages. They formed the National Restaurant Association in 1919, with a focus on lobbying to keep wages as low as possible for tipped workers, kitchen workers and agricultural workers who supplied restaurants with food. But it never had to be this way. Seven states — California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Montana, Minnesota and Alaska — have always required a full minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers with tips on top, and most of those also have wages for untipped kitchen staffs that are higher than the national average. Despite the National Restaurant Association's constant fear-mongering that raising wages would kill the industry, these seven states have generally had higher restaurant job growth rates, small full-service restaurant growth rates and tipping averages than the 43 other states.
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2. UC Berkeley scientists have developed a new COVID-19 therapeutic that can be administered as a nasal spray 

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have created a new COVID-19 therapeutic that could one day make treating SARS-CoV-2 infections as easy as using a nasal spray for allergies. Anders Näär, a professor of metabolic biology in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology (NST) at UC Berkeley , talks with CBS about the game-changing discovery. For more on this story, see our press release at Berkeley News.

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3. A.I. Is Not Sentient. Why Do People Say It Is?
The New York Times (*requires registration)

The notion that today's technology is somehow behaving like the human brain is a red herring. There is no evidence this technology is sentient or conscious — two words that describe an awareness of the surrounding world. Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology who is part of the A.I. research group at the University of California, Berkeley , agreed. "The computational capacities of current A.I. like the large language models," she said, "don't make it any more likely that they are sentient than that rocks or other machines are." The problem is that the people closest to the technology — the people explaining it to the public — live with one foot in the future. They sometimes see what they believe will happen as much as they see what is happening now.
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5. Transfusing blood from an old mouse to a younger mouse causes ageing
New Scientist

Transfusing young mice with blood from older rodents quickly triggers ageing, suggesting that cellular ageing isn't just a case of wear and tear. There is a longstanding hypothesis that surgically connecting an old mouse with a young rodent causes a transfer of blood that de-ages the older animal. While this benefits the older mouse, the effects on the young donor rodent were less clear. Irina Conboy at the University of California, Berkeley , and her colleagues transfused blood between young and old mice. Those aged 3 months got blood from animals that were approaching 2 years old. Two weeks later, the young mice had an increased number of senescent cells – cells in the liver, kidneys and muscles that are damaged and stop dividing, but don't die. Strength tests also revealed the young mice became weaker after receiving the older rodents' blood. "Cell senescence is only part of the process of ageing," says Conboy. "That opens new horizons and helps explain why senolytics (drugs that clear senescent cells in the body) so far in clinical trials were less successful than people hoped."

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