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.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

1. Halting Translation of Cancer-Promoting Proteins
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

A new drug target offers a promising new approach to cancer treatment, Berkeley biologists Jamie Cate and Amy Lee report. The strategy aims at the pathway controlling the production of the small portion of the body's many proteins that are most critical to regulating the growth and proliferation of cells. "To me, it's like finding a secret lever that opens a hidden drawer in an old-time desk," says Professor Cate. "The desk has been around over one and half billion years and many have studied it for decades, but we figured out how to trigger the opening." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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2. Scientists call for increased federal investment in sustainable agriculture

Sustainable agriculture urgently requires increased federal investment, say the authors of a new analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture funding. The study highlights the global environmental consequences of modern agriculture, including its 25-35% share of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide, while noting how more effective practices in highly promising areas of biologically diversified farming and ranching could ease agriculture's overall environmental impact. "Quite frankly, we have to make this transition to sustainable agriculture," says co-author Liz Carlisle, a doctoral geography student at Berkeley. "The question is: can we be proactive about it so that our institutions and economy are prepared to make the transition in a more intentional way and can we be sure that all rural communities will have access [to sustainably produced goods]." The article, published in Environmental Science & Policy has been selected for the Elsevier Atlas Award of June 2016.
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3. Health Care For California's Undocumented Adults: Uncertainty Remains After U.S. Supreme Court Decision
California Healthline

A decision by the Supreme Court last month to suspend President Obama's expanded deportation-relief programs for undocumented immigrants has dashed the hopes of an estimated 1.4 million undocumented Californians who had hopes for gaining access to affordable health care. Miranda Dietz, a researcher at Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education who has studied immigrants and healthcare, says the ruling means that fewer undocumented people in California will have access to health insurance, either from Medi-Cal, college enrollment or employer coverage. "There are great programs and assistance for [undocumented] youth," she says, "but there is not much for adults, and there is an urgency for adults who are aging, especially those with chronic conditions."
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4. Busy camps serve needs of front-line California firefighters
Washington Post (*requires registration)

Speaking of the vital base camps and supply operations serving firefighters at massive fires like the one now raging in Santa Clarita, Dean Keith Gilless, of Berkeley's College of Natural Resources, says they could not be organized quickly without close cooperation and resource-sharing between local, regional and federal authorities. He calls the incident command system "one of the extraordinary achievements" of U.S. firefighting efforts, and increasingly important as fires break out more frequently with greater intensity and destructive power. "You've got very defined roles for people, for communications, for logistics. ... When an incident occurs in one area, it sets in motion a chain of responses." This story appeared in more than 100 sources nationwide.
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5. Big Sur fire: Big blaze brings wildfire season to California's central coast
East Bay Times

"Much of Northern California had a decent amount of rain this winter, but much of the southern region is still in pretty critical drought," says environmental science, policy, and management professor Max Moritz, a wildland fire specialist, commenting on the blistering start of California's fire season. "The fires so far do seem to indicate that we're in for a difficult fire season ahead."
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6. Bill Clinton Could Be an Emissary for the Global Consequences of Climate Change
New York Times (*requires registration)

Wondering what Bill Clinton's public role could be in his wife's administration, public policy professor Robert Reich writes: "My particular candidate: the tumultuous intersection between global economics, immigration and climate change. I see the former president as a kind of special emissary to help with the human consequences of desertification, deforestation, flooding, erosion and drought; the displacements of populations; and social upheavals and political conflicts that are becoming more frequent as arable land becomes scarcer and as competition for resources intensifies. ... It's a perfect role for Bill Clinton. He enjoys working abroad. He cares about world hunger, poverty and displaced populations. He has the necessary skills, energy and intelligence. The assignment is potentially vast in scope -- fit for his ambition and energy (even at 70) -- and, done well, can do a great amount of good. Added bonus: It would keep him out of the White House and its daily clamor, out of the media circus that surrounds the White House and, presumably, out of trouble."
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7. Trump risks alienating Asian-Americans, a rising voting force
CNBC Online

The Asian-American population's growth in the U.S. is far exceeding that of any other demographic group, says political science professor Taeku Lee, and that has implications for the upcoming election. Not only are their percentage of voters climbing, but they're increasingly Democrats as well, especially in battleground states. Professor Lee describes the shift as a mix of "push and pull" from the two major American parties. Democrats have backed policies like immigration reform, expanded health care access and affordable college and made visible appointments of Asian-Americans in key posts, while Republicans have acted in ways that are "clearly unwelcoming" to Asian-Americans in those same policy areas.
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8. Brock Turner: Leading law school professors issue letter opposing judge's recall
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)

Objecting to the recall of Judge Persky over his lenient sentence in the Brock Turner sexual assault case, a group of leading California law professors, including several from Berkeley, write: "This poses a serious threat to the rule of law. Naked political pressure of this kind risks undermining the very foundation of dispassionate, independent judgment upon which all criminal convictions and sentences depend for their legitimacy. If disappointed litigants can influence the outcomes of future cases by unseating judges who rule against their interests, the administration of justice quickly falls into the hands of the wealthy, special interest groups, and anyone who wants to launch a political action committee on the heels of media coverage of a controversial case." Berkeley signatories include Professors Daniel Farber, Herma Hill Kay, Christopher Kutz, Jonathan Simon, Charles Weisselberg, and Franklin Zimring.
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