Berkeley in the News

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, 27 July 2016

1. UC Berkeley Researchers Granted $6 Million to Study Childhood Leukemia
NBC Bay Area Online

Targeting a dramatic rise in the incidence of childhood leukemia in recent decades, UC Berkeley's Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE) has been awarded a four-year, $6 million grant to investigate causes and potential prevention efforts. The grant is from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Our goal is to identify the causes of childhood leukemia and to support prevention efforts by educating health practitioners, families and public health organizations on risk factors for leukemia," says epidemiology and public health professor Catherine Metayer, the director of CIRCLE. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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2. Frogs who have sex in private have smaller privates
Gizmag

With frogs increasingly fertilizing and laying eggs on dry land instead of in water, scientists have been looking for explanations. It had been thought that it was an adaptation that protected eggs and tadpoles from aquatic predators, but a new study co-authored by integrative biology postdoctoral fellow Rayna Camille Bell suggests it might be a way for male frogs to avoid competition with rival males. The researchers theorized that the testes of males mating on land would be smaller than those of water breeders, and this proved true. "Hopefully our study will draw attention to how much we still have to learn about sexual selection and mating system dynamics in frogs," Bell says. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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3. Wonkblog: Why rich neighbors are bad for you
Washington Post (*requires registration)

A new paper by a Federal Reserve economist indicates that one of the effects of rising inequality is increased housing consumption among those of higher income, which inspires debt-financed housing consumption among the middle- and lower-income markets. It's not the first study to show that. In 2015, a study co-authored by sociology professor Neil Fligstein found that people outside of the top fifth of earners spent more on homes for the same quality. "Rising prices pushed them to increase their share of expenditure on housing and their mortgage debt-to-income ratio even when they did not upgrade house size or neighborhood," the researchers wrote.
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4. Affordable housing 101: Why not build more granny units?
East Bay Times (*requires registration)

A movement to ease restrictions on accessory dwelling units, or ADUs -- otherwise known as granny flats, companion units or in-law apartments -- is gaining ground in the Bay Area, with local initiatives and ordinances being introduced and adopted. It's time to think outside the box, says city and regional planning professor Karen Chapple, because the housing crisis "isn't going away any time soon." Her 2012 study of five East Bay communities showed that about 30 percent of homeowners expressed interest in an ADU. "As soon as we get our next 2 million residents over the next 30 years, we're going to have to invent new things like this," she says. "We need to find solutions."
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5. Clinton campaign seeks to make most of Kaine's Spanish
Washington Post (*requires registration)

Much is being made of the symbolism of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine's introduction as Hillary Clinton's presidential running mate having taken place in Miami, home to one of the country's largest Hispanic communities. The former Roman Catholic missionary in Latin America gave his speech in fluent Spanish. Political science professor Lisa García Bedolla says his use of Spanish calls attention to his ability to connect on key issues that matter to Latinos. "He kept talking about fe, familia y trabajo (faith, family and work). He was very respectful and humble about what he learned," she said. This story appeared in more than 100 sources.
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6. Op-Ed: Does Hillary get it? It's not left, right any more
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

Public policy professor Robert Reich worries that Hillary Clinton doesn't understand that the biggest divide in American politics is "no longer between the right and the left, but between the anti-establishment and the establishment." He says that her post-nomination move to the middle is risky. "She needs to move instead toward the anti-establishment -- forcefully committing herself to getting big money out of politics, and making the system work for the many rather than a privileged few," he says. "She must make clear Donald Trump's authoritarian populism is a dangerous gambit, and the best way to end crony capitalism and make America work for the many is to strengthen American democracy."
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7. First lady Michelle Obama addresses all the people
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

In a blog called "Understanding Trump," cognitive science and linguistics professor George Lakoff discusses his perceptions of the means by which Donald Trump manipulates neural circuitry "to turn people's brains toward what he wants." He says that even if Trump loses the election, the candidate "will have changed the brains of millions of Americans, with future consequences."
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8. Why are Bay Area recycling centers closing -- and can anything save them?
East Bay Times (*requires registration)

Recycling redemption centers are closing statewide, and that is putting pressure on remaining centers to keep up with demand. Public policy lecturer Steve Weissman says that since the prices of scrap materials often change, it's important in the long run to have more consistency in options for redeeming deposits on cans, bottles and scrap metal. "Policies that could help maintain that stability and predictability of the market could be an important factor to help balance out issues like fluctuating prices," he says.
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9. Alzheimer's Drug LMTX Falters in Final Stage of Trials
New York Times (*requires registration)

A new type of Alzheimer's drug has failed its first big clinical trial, disappointing scientists, even though it still offers promise for a small subset of patients. The drug, called LMTX, targets something called tau tangles, which are aggregates of abnormal proteins in the brain. "There is increasing evidence that tau is more proximal to the onset of disease symptoms," says public health and neuroscience professor William Jagust.
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