A daily selection of stories about UC Berkeley and higher education that have appeared in the local and national media.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
1. Economic Scene: A Keynesian Victory, but Austerity Stands Firm
New York Times (*requires registration)
A paper co-authored by Berkeley economics professor Brad DeLong and Harvard economist Lawrence Summers is cited for proposing that with today's rock-bottom interest rates, government spending to encourage growth would pay for itself. In the U.S., they concluded, it would lighten the nation’s future debt burden, not increase it.
2. Ask The Experts: If I Could Make One Policy Change to Fix the Federal Deficit, I Would...
Public policy professor John Ellwood contributes to a round-up of experts' thoughts on how the Federal deficit could be fixed. He says: “The correct package would include (1) an increase of the revenue burden to what it was at the end of the Clinton Administration. (2) The passage of legislation to control health care expenditures — in both the private and the public sectors. (3) Passage of changes to Social Security program so that it is in balance over the 75 year time line."
3. Nicolas Economides Discusses the Economy of Greece
Visiting economics professor Nicolas Economides is interviewed about economic recovery and austerity programs in Greece. Link to video.
4. Her job: Stopping wage theft
Los Angeles Times
Labor professor Harley Shaiken comments on California Labor Commissioner Julie Su's efforts to ensure that the state's workers are fairly paid. He believes her management philosophy appears to satisfy both employers and employees as California copes with 9% unemployment. "She knows that when all is said and done, enforcing the law can improve the quality of life of the people directly impacted. ... But also it can set a standard for all employers that improves the quality of work life in the state."
5. Study: Election officials are biased against Latino voters
A story about bias at election commissions nationwide cites a study co-authored by Berkeley political science graduate student David Broockman and Yale’s Daniel Butler. They had found that state legislators are less likely to respond to requests for information from people with black-sounding names.
6. String theory may limit space brain threat
Doctoral student Claire Zukowski has been studying a controversial concept called Boltzmann brains -- fully formed, conscious entities that form spontaneously in outer space -- with physics professor Raphael Bousso, and they believe string theory can help solve their riddle. According to the writer: "The very idea of string theory and the multiverse is still controversial. It is often attacked for being overly complicated and difficult to prove. If Bousso and Zukowski are correct, though, and it can help resolve the problem of Boltzmann brains, the theory may just win a few more backers."
7. SARS-like virus puts experts on alert
San Francisco Chronicle
A new virus similar to SARS -- called Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS -- is beginning to spread through the Middle East, arousing concern among infectious disease experts worldwide. "People are legitimately concerned," public health and epidemiology professor Art Reingold says. "But does (the new virus) have the potential to cause 10,000 cases and 800 deaths, like SARS? I think we can be hopeful that this is not going to develop into a global problem."
8. Mental disorders manual under fire
San Francisco Chronicle
Berkeley psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw weighs in on the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is under fire for including too many disorders with broad definitions. "The debate is, do we put more and more problems to get people to come out of the closet, or are we making it so there are no normal people left?" he says. With regard to the new edition's removal of Asperger's disorder as something separate from autism spectrum disorder, he says, "The criticism is, you've taken away a valuable name by simplifying."
9. The Accelerators Blog: Steve Blank: Teachers, Coaches and Mentors
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)
Serial entrepreneur and lecturer Steve Blank writes about his experience teaching entrepreneurship and the difference between teaching, coaching, and mentoring.
10. College Hill was original St. Mary's home
San Francisco Chronicle
Geography professor emeritus Richard Walker, author of Country in the City: The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area, weighs in on the question of whether San Francisco has seven, 74, or some other number of hills. "Given how much the place undulates, people in San Francisco have every reason to exaggerate 'their' hills and give them names," he says. "It just has to be visually striking from some angle, or a place where we put an institution." When the Gold Rush began, the population swelled to 45,000 by 1855 and many hills near the bay were leveled. "It's amazing what guys with hand tools could do."
11. Dr. Joseph Castro named new Fresno State president
KFSN TV (Fresno)
UC San Francisco Vice Chancellor Joseph Castro has been named the new president of Fresno State. He earned a master's in public policy at Berkeley and once worked here as well. Link to video.
12. Silicon Valley website Piggybackr helps kids use 'crowd funding'
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)
Alum Andrea Lo's startup Piggybackr aims to help young people raise money for their projects, schools, teams and social causes, teaching them entrepreneurial skills along the way.