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.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

1. Berkeley in the News will take a break the rest of this week, resuming publication on Monday, April 3.

2. European Patent Office to grant UC a broad patent on CRISPR-Cas9
Berkeley News

The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced its intention to grant a broad patent for the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to the University of California, the University of Vienna and Emmanuelle Charpentier. "The university is thrilled with this important EPO decision, which recognizes the pioneering work of Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier and their teams as the CRISPR-Cas9 inventors, and also recognizes that the original patent application covers a wide range of cell types, including human cells," said Edward Penhoet, who was recently appointed a special advisor on CRISPR to the UC president and UC Berkeley chancellor. Penhoet, the cofounder and former CEO of Chiron Corp., is the associate dean of biology at UC Berkeley and a professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology. Other stories on this topic appeared in Science Magazine, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, STAT, and Fortune.
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3. What does California need to meet its climate-change goals? For starters, denser housing and less driving, report says
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

California could make significant progress in its climate-change goals and economy if it changed policies limiting the housing capacity of its cities, according to a new study co-authored by researchers Ethan Elkind, Carol Galante, and Nathaniel Decker of Berkeley's Center for Housing Innovation and Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE). The researchers projected that residents living in already developed neighborhoods would drive about 18 fewer miles every weekday than those living outside those communities. They concluded that a dense development strategy would also lead to higher annual economic growth, greater tax revenue and lower home construction costs, and that households would have lower monthly costs through reduced transportation and utility bills. "We're not talking about skyscrapers towering over people's homes," Elkind says. Rather, cities like San Francisco would increase by 30 percent, and smaller cities would grow as well. "Land use is probably the most over-regulated sector of our economy," he says. "There's no question we need to do some relaxing of our restrictions in our coastal communities." Other stories on this topic appeared in the Mercury News, Sacramento Business Journal, and Builder Weekly. An op-ed co-authored by Elkind and Galante appeared in Capitol Weekly.
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4. Berkeley Researchers Map Out Renewable Energy Future For Africa
Clean Technica

A team of UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers has released a study mapping out a sustainable alternative energy strategy for the African continent. The plan would develop wind and solar power while reducing the region's reliance on fossil fuels and lowering power plant construction costs. The study's goal was to determine how to allocate limited funds to effectively address electricity and climate challenges expected to put increasing pressure on the area in future decades. "The surprising find is that the wind and solar resources in Africa are absolutely gigantic, and something you could tap into for relatively low cost," says senior author Duncan Callaway, an associate energy and resources professor at Berkeley and a faculty scientist at LBNL. "But we need to be thinking now about strategies for fostering international collaboration to tap into the resource in a way that is going to maximize its potential while minimizing its impact." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Another story appeared in the Science Times.
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5. Poll: Californians dislike Trump, but don't back 'Resistance' or Calexit
Mercury News (*requires registration)

A majority of California voters favor cooperating with Washington rather than waging a fight that could lead to funding cuts or other "negative consequences," and they certainly don't want to secede from the nation, a new poll by Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies has found. Among the study's other findings was more optimism about how the Trump administration could affect the state's infrastructure spending and economy, and less optimism about how it might affect the rights of minorities and the environment. For more on this, see our story at Berkeley News. Other stories on this topic appeared in Politico and Newsweek.
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6. Going nuts for squirrels at UC Berkeley's animal cognition lab
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

The Berkeley campus is rich in squirrels, making it the perfect outdoor laboratory for psychology professor Lucia Jacobs and her team in the Jacobs Lab for Cognitive Biology. In one of their National Science Foundation-funded experiments, led by doctoral student Mikel Delgado, the scientists study their behavior and memories by tracking microchipped hazelnuts they've given squirrels to bury. The research seeks to understand how the animals exploit complex environments to survive, as their species has done for millions of years, adapting to life in diverse terrains over five continents.
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7. 2017 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Marcus Opp, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)
Poets & Quants

Assistant finance professor Marcus Opp, of Berkeley's Haas School of Business, has been named one of Poets & Quants' 2017 Best 40 Under 40 Professors. He currently teaches Introduction to Finance to MBA students and Corporate Finance Theory to doctoral candidates. As a researcher, he studies dynamic contracting, financial intermediation, and international finance. He has received outstanding teaching ratings from students since he started teaching at Haas in 2010. In one student's words: "Professor Opp is an amazing teacher. He turns a topic that can be difficult to understand (Finance) into one that is digestible. I have taken a few Finance classes in the past, but his was by far the most enjoyable. His humorous tone and inclusion of numerous examples helped to make his class engaging, and make the topics he taught applicable to the real world. I really appreciated all of his hard work prepping for classes and ensuring his students understood the material."
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8. Tracking Trump's Congress: Jesus This Healthcare Bill Is a Mess, Huh?
Vice

In a story written Friday, before anyone knew the fate of the American Health Care Act in Congress, public health professor emerita Helen Halpin said: "The only thing one can conclude is that Trump trusted Ryan to deliver the goods and Trump has no understanding of what is in the bill. ... It is actually really difficult to write a bill that is this universally hated by everyone—liberals, conservatives, and independents." She adds: "Failing' is his best option, because the impacts of this bill on the lives and well-being of millions of Americans would be devastating. The fact that he isn't even staying in Washington for the vote suggests he has concluded it is a loser. He will blame Ryan and the Republicans and take no responsibility for the disaster. ... No one has ever seen anything like this. ... It is chaos. It is frightening."
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9. The Greatest War Photographer You've Never Heard Of
New York Times (*requires registration)

Freelance photographer and doctoral political science student Elizabeth Herman writes about Catherine Leroy, one of only two women who were war photojournalists in the 1960s. Widely considered the most daring photographer in Vietnam, she sold her photos to the Associated Press and UPI. According to Herman: "At one point during the Tet offensive, in early 1968, she was captured by the North Vietnamese Army while with the French journalist Francois Mazure. There was a young lieutenant that they could converse with in French. They explained that they were journalists and would do no harm, so the soldiers decided to let them go. But first she persuaded them to let her take photos, saying that it was important because only one side of the story was being seen. The photos ran as a cover story in Life magazine, which she wrote herself."
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10. Poet Robert Hass on the Chords' 'Sh-Boom'
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

In an interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning English professor Robert Hass, a former U.S. poet laureate, waxes lyrical about the Chords, a black vocal-harmony group in the 1950s, who "were like nothing I had ever heard." Describing their song "Sh-Boom," he says their "sweet idealized narration" combined with "this subliminal other thing" of nonsense syllables "expressed the fireworks of a perfect love, and it mimicked exactly the unharmonized registers of my cracking, adolescent voice."
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