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28 February 2001 |
Campus hosts two state legislators
State Senator Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo, San Francisco) and Assemblywoman Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) are visiting campus to meet with administrators and faculty experts on issues they address in the legislature.

The visits are hosted by the Government Relations office in Public Affairs, which works closely with legislators and brings them to campus to showcase Berkeley work and provide substantive information on issues of importance to elected officials and the public.

Speier, chair of the Senate insurance committee and a member of its transportation committee, was in Berkeley last week. She had lunch at the Institute for Governmental Studies, visited the Institute of Transportation Studies, and spoke with Dean Ed Penhoet at the School of Public Health about health policy. Speier also met with Chancellor Berdahl and Mary Beth Burnside, vice chancellor for research.

Alquist, chair of the Assembly committee on higher education, will also meet with Penhoet on health policy when she visits on March 1. She has an interest in schools of education and teacher training, as well as in admissions and financial aid.

Medical plan sessions set for March, April
Representatives of four UC medical plans will hold information sessions in the coming weeks to help employees use their medical benefits effectively.

The sessions are sponsored by the benefits unit in the Office of Human Resources.

Representatives will discuss both the “regular” version and “Medicare-coordinated” version of each plan and will answer questions.

All sessions will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. in 150 University Hall. No pre-registration is required.
The schedule for the sessions is:
• Kaiser: Tuesday, March 20
• Health Net: Tuesday, March 27
• Pacificare: Tuesday, April 3
• UC Care: Wednesday, April 4

For information, call Deborah Lloyd at 643-7547.

‘Standby’ electricity loss increases power bills
If you need proof that your appliances are sucking energy even when they’re sitting unused, just turn out the lights some evening. All those glowing red dots and flashing digital clocks are a clear sign your household appliances are spending your money while you sleep.

One of the biggest energy gobblers are the transformers that continuously recharge your cell phone, power your computer peripherals and keep your Game Boy ready for use.

A recent study by Berkeley students and scientists shows that eliminating this standby or “leaking” electricity could save households between six and 26 percent on the average monthly electricity bill.

“We’ve only recently found out how substantial the energy savings can be,” said Daniel Kammen, professor of energy and resources and director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. “People could save enough power to offset the rise in electricity rates.”

See http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2001/02/09_energ.html for the complete story.

Finns team with Berkeley to study technology
Researchers from one of the world’s most technologically-advanced countries, Finland, and Berkeley-based scientists are collaborating on new discoveries in computer science, e-commerce, intellectual property rights and the sociology of the information society.

A new research agreement will open the doors for Finnish researchers to spend a year or more in Berkeley working with faculty members and multinational scholars in the International Computer Science Institute, engaging in studies to propel innovation in the interest of society.

“This is the beginning of something that will benefit the research community and society as a whole,” said Nelson Morgan, director of the computer science institute and an adjunct professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences.

See www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2001/02/01_icsi.html for the complete story.

Findings shed light on Native American history
The Hohokam, who inhabited the dry Sonoran desert of southern Arizona, were more or less overshadowed in the archaeological world by the better-known and studied Anasazi, even though the Hohokam had by far the most advanced canal irrigation system in the New World.

According to the work of research archaeologist Steven Shackley at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, the Hohokam had a very large, multiethnic network that may have spread all the way to the Southern California coast,
Shackley’s research confirms that Hohokam peoples managed a large, integrated economic area that covered most of Arizona. Moreover, related groups may even have moved into Southern California carrying aspects of the distinctive Hohokam culture into the Imperial Valley and the San Diego area.

This theory of Hohokam culture thoroughly mixes up the story of Native American roots. It gives many contemporary Native American southwest groups a claim to Hohokam ancestry, now claimed by Arizona’s Pima and Tohono O’Odham peoples.

See www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2001/01/30_arch.html for the complete story.

Microscope speeds up detection process
Berkeley scientists, and their colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, have created a sensitive and fast way for medical scientists to detect small levels of bacteria, drugs and many kinds of proteins or chemicals.

The new technique, using a so-called SQUID microscope, dramatically speeds up the process, potentially helping medical researchers and physicians save lives.

“This technique could let you do in an hour or in minutes what now takes a day,” said John Clarke, professor of physics in the College of Letters and Science. “If this really works, we could get information in real time, so that hospitals could diagnose an illness at the bedside, or food processors could find out immediately whether there is any bacterial contamination.”

The microscope also could be critical in bioterrorism situations, where it is crucial to ascertain quickly the biological or chemical agent involved.

See www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2001/02/08_squid.html for the complete story.

 


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