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.
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
1. Yellen's Sway Over Rates Puts Her Atop Most Influential Ranking
Bloomberg Markets has named business professor emeritus Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, "the most influential person in the world." Bloomberg's list of 50 individuals begins: "They build companies and assemble fortunes. They run banks, or hope to disrupt them. They shape economies and spread ideas. They manage money and wield the clout that goes with the billions of dollars they invest. The 50 people in our fifth annual Most Influential ranking are a varied group but have in common extraordinary success in their chosen fields." About Yellen, they write: "'Keep Calm and Carry On'of course that's Yellen's motto. What's more befitting a Fed chair who has yet to flinch in the face of withering criticism from right and left and especially from Congress, who is almost never off message, and who deftly manages an at times deeply divided policy-making committee?" Other stories on this topic appeared in the Fiscal Times and Fortune.
2. THE World Academic Summit 2016 to take place at Berkeley
Times Higher Education
Times Higher Education has announced that its World Academic Summit 2016 will take place at UC Berkeley. The conference annually gathers senior university, government and industry leaders, and next year the theme will be "World Class Universities and the Public Good." It is scheduled for October 5-7. According to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks: "Now, more than ever, the progress we make in confronting salient global challenges and opportunities will depend on the ability of universities around the world to collaborate, coordinate and share knowledge. For that reason we, at Berkeley, are thrilled to be hosting the 2016 World Academic Summit."
3. Well Blog: Weight Gain Possibly Tied to Later Bedtimes
New York Times Online (*requires registration)
Staying up late could be making people heavier, a new study suggests. The researchers looked at the relationship between bedtimes and body mass index (BMI) from adolescence to adulthood over a 15-year period, and found a link between later average bedtimes during the work week and an increase in BMI over time. Lauren Asarnow, a doctoral student in Berkeley's Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic, was the lead author of the study. She says the study raises questions: "First, what is driving this relationship? ... Is it metabolic changes that happen when you stay up late? And second, if we change sleep patterns, can we change eating behavior and the course of weight change?" Stories on this topic appeared in more than 100 sources, including the Washington Post.
4. The Science of Sounding Smart
Harvard Business Review
"When you're trying to convey the quality of your mind to your boss, or to a company that's considering you for a job, your best ally may be your own voice," write Berkeley business professor Juliana Schroeder and her research partner Nicholas Epley, of the University of Chicago, in a report on their new study. They say their research refutes what many believe -- that their intelligence and thoughtfulness are better conveyed in writing. "Your voice is a tool that has been honed over the course of human evolution to communicate what's on your mind to others," they conclude. "Without even thinking about it, you naturally flood your listener with cues to your thinking through subtle modulations in tone, pace, volume, and pitch. The listener, attuned to those modulations, naturally decodes these cues. That's why if you claim to be passionate about your prospective job, for example, hearing your passion may be more convincing than reading your passion. Written text may not convey the same impression as your voice, because it lacks a critical feature: the sound of intellect."
5. Field Poll: Support for Hillary Clinton drops among California Dems
San Jose Mercury News
While a Field Poll indicates California Democrats' support of Hillary Clinton has plummeted, she's still most likely to win the California primary and nomination, says Jack Citrin, director of Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies. "It's improbable to me that someone with Bernie Sanders' background would be nominated, especially once people start thinking about what's likely to happen in the general election," he says. He attributes the poll numbers to Sanders' ability to "appeal to passionate elements of the base" while Clinton's email problems "cast a kind of shadow over her" whether or not there's actually fire beneath the smoke.
6. For Government That Works, Call In the Auditors
New York Times (*requires registration)
When a Department of Energy (DOE) analysis seemed to refute a study co-authored by an independent team that included Berkeley researchers Meredith Fowlie and Catherine Wolfram, the academics decided to investigate the methodology behind the DOE report. The independent team's original study had concluded that energy savings produced by weatherization did not justify the cost, while the subsequent DOE study of their own federal weatherization program asserted it was tremendously successful. After their investigation, the independent team reported: "Many of the D.O.E.'s conclusions
are based on dubious assumptions, invalid extrapolations, the invention of a new formula to measure benefits that does not produce meaningful results, and no effort to evaluate statistical significance." This commentator agrees that the DOE study does not, in fact, stand up to scrutiny. "A government agency that stands to lose a chunk of its budget if it finds a weakness in its programs is less likely to look too hard," he says.
7. China Realtime Blog: 'Harmonious Demolition' and Chinese Legal Reform
Wall Street Journal Online (*requires registration)
Law lecturer Stanley Lubman writes about the "slowly changing" legal system in China. Speaking of the use of "extra-legal soft repression," he cites a study co-authored by Berkeley colleague Kevin O'Brien. The researchers had described the ways the government exerts social pressure, including mobilizing government employees to "suppress protest and inhibit speech." One technique, known as "harmonious demolition," occurs when local authorities believe that residents oppose governmental acquisition of their land. The strategy involves public shaming, and if staff are unsuccessful in persuading residents to surrender, they may be fined or have their job security threatened.
8. Building a Prison-to-School Pipeline
East Bay Express
The Underground Scholars Initiative, a self-help program for formerly incarcerated students, grew out of a campus seminar on prisons taught by ethnic studies professor emerita Patricia Hilden two years ago. Program director Steve Czifra says he hopes it will become a more institutionalized presence on campus as a "prison-to-school pipeline" that makes it easier for people coming out of prison to get into universities like Berkeley.
9. Code Switch Blog: Meet Mozzified, A Site For Ramadan Recipes, Sharia Memes And Nosy-Auntie Jokes
The Muslim pop culture website Mozzified, launched in January by a group of Berkeley journalism classmates, is a place for young Muslims to share inside jokes and articles on all kinds of common interests. In an interview, co-founder Zainab Khan explains the site's name. "Mozzify is a made-up word. At Wesleyan, we had a small but active Muslim Students Association, this really cool community of international students and people from across the country who all had shared experiences, and we started calling each other 'Mozzies.' The idea was this intersectional identity of being everything else and being Muslim.
To 'mozzify' is to take something from any culture and reinterpret it through a Muslim lens. So, for example, when I walk into a Nordstrom and I see a rack of scarves, I'm like, 'Oh, that's the hijab section.'"
10. Tharp, headed for Berkeley performance, looks forward
San Francisco Chronicle
Choreographer Twyla Tharp's dance company will visit Cal Performances on its 50th anniversary tour, Oct. 16 through 18. The tour will take in 17 cities, with two premieres at Zellerbach Hall. Asked why she is not celebrating with a program that's more reflective of her legacy, she says: "Anniversaries just don't mean that much to me.
I make dances, because that's what I do. Yes, the idea of a retrospective occurred in my mind. There are pieces everyone would like to see again, but ultimately, when push came to shove, as we say around here, it was the creation of new stuff that appealed most. But we might do some older things next year. We'll see." For ticket and program information, visit Cal Performances.