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.
Thursday, 26 March 2015
1. The UC Berkeley campus will be closed Friday, March 27, in observance of the Cesar Chavez holiday. Publication of Berkeley in the News will resume Monday, March 30.
2. The Campanile at 100: The woman of the tower
Visitor Services staff member Lilyanne Clark is profiled for her work at Berkeley's Jane K. Sather Tower, better known on campus as the Campanile. The campus is celebrating the landmark's 100th birthday this year with a variety of commemorations. Clark has worked there since 1993, talking with visitors from around the world as she escorts them to the observation deck near the top. In this interview, she shares her knowledge and love of the tower, and some interesting questions and requests she's received.
3. Better ‘cosmic candles’ to illuminate dark energy
A new study led by postdoctoral astronomy researcher Patrick Kelly has found a way to measure distances in space that is twice as precise as the prior method. The key is a special kind of Type la supernova. “For a couple of weeks, a Type Ia supernova becomes increasingly bright before it begins to fade,” Kelly says. “It turns out that the rate at which it fades tells us about the absolute brightness of the explosion. ... An exciting prospect for our analysis is that it can be easily applied to Type Ia supernovae in larger distances -- an approach that will let us analyze distances more accurately as we go further back in time.”
4. Explainer: CRISPR technology brings precise genetic editing – and raises ethical questions
A group of scientists led by molecular and cell biology professor Jennifer Doudna is calling for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new genome-editing technique called CRISPR, which Professor Doudna co-invented. The temporary ban would give scientists, ethicists, governmental organizations and the public time to consider the profound issues attendant to the scientific breakthrough, which could be used to alter human genomes to prevent heritable diseases. This explanatory column on the issues concludes: "There is no doubt that the exciting and revolutionary CRISPR technology, under the guidance of carefully drafted and broadly accepted rules, will serve well for the well-being of human kind." Stories on this topic appeared in dozens of sources around the world, including Xconomy, BizNews, and Forbes.
5. All Things Considered: University and Biotech Firm Team up on Colorblindness Therapy
Berkeley research has paved the way for a landmark therapy for colorblindness, which Avalanche Biotechnologies and University of Washington, Seattle, scientists are planning to bring to market. The treatment involves injecting new genes into retina cells that respond to color, but early tests with squirrel monkeys involved retinal surgery, which is hazardous. The Berkeley researchers found a way of delivering genes to the retina by using a simple injection into the vitreous -- a far safer method than surgery. Link to audio.
6. Well Column: An Upbeat Emotion That’s Surprisingly Good for You
New York Times
A Berkeley study has linked positive emotions, such as awe, contentment and spirituality, with lower levels of a molecule known to promote inflammation in the body. The link was strongest with individuals who reported frequently feeling awe-struck, and senior author Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor and faculty director of Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, says: “There seems to be something about awe. ... It seems to have a pronounced impact on markers related to inflammation.” He acknowledges that the emotion is conceptually squishy and subjective, but says that a primary attribute is that it “will pass the goose-bumps test.” He suggests that people should “seek it often,” however it comes to them. “Some people feel awe listening to music," he says, "others watching a sunset or attending a political rally or seeing kids play.”
7. Medi-Cal rolls could swell under Obama's deportation relief plan
Los Angeles Times
Data released Wednesday by the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research indicates that up to 500,000 more Californians could apply for the state's low-income health program. This is the number of undocumented immigrants who can't enroll in Obamacare but -- through an unusual policy in California -- can sign up for Medi-Cal if they qualify for deferred deportation. Another story on this topic appeared in California Healthline.
8. Officials to relax rules for Berkeley ‘granny flats’
The Berkeley City Council unanimously approved a proposal by Mayor Tom Bates to streamline the process for homeowners who wish to add secondary units, also called in-law units or granny flats, to their properties. City and regional planning professor Karen Chapple advocated the plan after studying, with support from the UC Transportation Center, how many such units could be built around five East Bay BART stations, and how they might affect the local economy. She had written in 2011: "In-law units ... are an easy way to provide homeowners with flexible space for a home office or an on-site caregiver, additional rental income, or a space for elderly family members to remain in a family environment. In short, they offer the kind of flexibility that has become imperative in today’s world to accommodate fluctuating work schedules and alternative family arrangements.” The final plan will need to come back to council before it becomes part of the city’s zoning code. Another story on this topic appeared in the San Jose Mercury News.
9. Who are the world’s best leaders?
Business professor emeritus Barry Staw is cited in a commentary accompanying Fortune's latest ranking of the world's best leaders. His research had found that companies and leaders that adopted popular management techniques did not experience better economic performance, but leaders who embraced popular management fads earned more money.
10. Midas List: Sequoia's Jim Goetz again tops VC ranking; More women named this year
Silicon Valley Business Journal (*requires registration)
Forbes Magazine's annual Midas ranking of the best venture investors honored more women this year, including Haas School of Business alumna Rebecca Lynn, of Canvas Venture Fund. She is in 23rd place, and her notable investment was LendingClub.
11. Literature and Money: Studying what you love without being exploited
Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration)
Assistant English and comparative literature professor Dora Zhang reviews Deidre Shauna Lynch's new book, Loving Literature: A Cultural History (University of Chicago Press). Professor Zhang writes: "The idea that books, like people, should be objects of affection seems perfectly natural today. What ... Lynch’s new book ... shows is that there is nothing self-evident or ahistorical about this relationship to literature. Observing that a common charge against contemporary literary scholars is that they don’t love books, she points out that this obscures a more fundamental question: Why should they?"
12. Forum with Michael Krasny: National Park Service Director on the Future of America's Parks
Jonathan Jarvis, director of The National Park Service, discusses next summer's 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and the system's goals for its future. This week, the Berkeley campus is hosting a summit called "Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century.” Link to audio.