A daily selection of stories about UC Berkeley and higher education that have appeared in the local and national media.
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
1. Berkeley in the News will be on vacation from July 24, through July 30. Publication will resume on July 31.
2. Science and politics: Hello, Governor
When integrative biology professor Anthony Barnosky co-wrote a paper forecasting that Earth was reaching a "tipping point" in human-caused climate change, he didn't anticipate his new involvement in world politics. Gov. Jerry Brown called and asked him to simplify his arguments into a consensus document, which Brown used as a powerful powerful scientific rationale for the need to combat climate change. He distributed it to dozens of politicians, including US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and soon after its publication, California entered into an agreement with China to cooperate on developing green technology and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The state also signed a pact with Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Professor Barnosky credits the governor for extending the value of his research, saying: "You can have all the consensus statements in the world, but what makes them effective is when somebody in a policy-making position actually uses them.”
3. UC Berkeley celebrates 100 years with Plumas County
Plumas County News
Berkeley's College of Natural Resources is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and the milestone marks a special relationship between the campus and Plumas County, as well. In 1914, the new college obtained a special-use lease with the Forest Service to use a 40-acre parcel out in Meadow Valley as a summer camp for aspiring foresters. Since then, new groups of students have found their way up there year after year, and the university acquired 80 more acres in the area in 1949 in a campaign to save the forests from clear cutting. According to forest management specialist Richard Standiford, the tools used in the field have changed over the last 100 years, but the experience the students get at the camp is essentially the same. “Berkeley has always had a multidisciplinary approach involving much more than just timber,” he says. “Wildlife, water, aesthetics and recreation have always been important, but I think it’s gotten more important as we progressed through the last 100 years.”
4. UC Berkeley Researchers Study Colorful Disco Clams
Integrative biology graduate student Lindsey Dougherty has discovered the source of the light show that gave rise to the Ctenoides ales clam's nickname -- the disco clam. Most people have assumed that the clam's flashing lights were a form of bioluminescence, but she found instead that it's the edge of the clam's mantle lip, which is highly reflective on one side, and when the clam unfurls its lip, usually twice a second, the reflective surface flashes. Link to video.
5. UC enrolling more new students from other states and nations
Los Angeles Times
The percentage of all new non-resident freshmen at UC campuses is up again this fall at UC campuses. While UC officials note that the higher tuition non-residents pay supports classes and financial aid for Californians, they also insist that the growth is not significantly reducing the ranks of California freshmen. Systemwide, the number of California freshmen expected will total 35,943, just 21 fewer than the number that said they would attend last year at this time. The percentage of non-residents at Berkeley this year is 29.8%. Other stories on this topic appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and Inside Higher Education.
6. Russia and the West: Will sanctions work with Putin?
Associate political science professor M. Steven Fish discusses the Ukraine crisis and the unlikelihood that sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin will have any effect on his agenda in that country. Link to video.
7. President Obama Swings Through Bay Area For Fundraising Trip
Political science professor Jack Citrin comments on the stakes of the upcoming election for President Obama, who is currently on a quick but important fundraising visit to California. Referring to the distinct possibility that the Republicans will take control of the Senate and the House, he says: "The President would lose whatever relatively limited leverage he has over legislation because the Senate, with a Democratic majority, has been his main bastion of strength." Link to video.
8. The Fix Blog: Chuck Schumer wants the U.S. to adopt a top-two primary system. But is it working?
Ethan Rarick, director of the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service at Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies, is quoted extensively in an article about the top-two primary system. This article is being reissued after Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote an op-ed calling for more states to adopt the system. Rarick warns that the system has only been in place for one and a half election cycles, so we can't make any grand judgments on the system's success. "The biggest reason this system is unlikely to work," he says, "is that voters can't identify moderates from the rest of the candidates. Voters go off party cues. They can't differentiate one Democrat from another."
9. DealBook Blog: Changing Old Antitrust Thinking for a New Gilded Age
New York Times (*requires registration)
Law professor Steven Davidoff Solomon, author of Gods at War: Shotgun Takeovers, Government by Deal and the Private Equity Implosion, writes about industry consolidation trends that are reminiscent of Gilded Age trusts from more than a century ago. Asserting that old antitrust laws need to be updated, he concludes: "Perhaps it is time to create laws for a new Gilded Age and provide regulators the power to determine if megadeals are truly good for America."
10. Three people died in illegal human experiments carried out by John Podesta backer's firm
The Washington Times has been investigating whether the White House was aware of John Podesta's financial connection to Hansjorg Wyss when he was invited to join the president's inner circle. Wyss, a key financial backer of Podesta, is a Swiss billionaire whose company conducted illegal human experiments that resulted in the deaths of three elderly patients in 2009. One of the victims was Berkeley visiting materials science scholar Ryoichi Kikuchi.
11. CityLab: Does San Francisco's Smart Parking System Reduce Cruising for a Space?
The Atlantic Online
A recent analysis co-authored by assistant city and regional planning professor Daniel Chatman found that San Francisco may not be meeting one critical measure of success in increasing parking availability through its progressive SFpark system. The researchers found that just because an occupancy rate on a street is less than 100 percent, that doesn't necessarily mean that a space is always open when a driver is searching for a space.
12. Rockstar Parking, for a Price
Inside Higher Ed
An article about parking as "yet another woe of American higher education" includes the following historical note: "Parking has long been a problem on college campuses. By 1957, amid the glory days of American car culture, California higher ed leader Clark Kerr’s fundamental insight when he was chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley was to realize his job had come to be 'providing parking for the faculty, sex for the students, and athletics for the alumni.'"