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.

Friday, 19 September 2014

1. Cal prof nominated for Mexico ambassador
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

Law professor and alumna Maria Echaveste, policy and program development director at Berkeley's Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, and a former White House adviser, has been nominated by President Obama to be the next U.S. ambassador to Mexico. If confirmed, she would be the first Latina to serve in this role. She serves on the board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy, and Mi Familia Vota. She is also on the advisory board of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute. A statement issued by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said: "Though a longtime supporter of common sense immigration reform, Ms. Echaveste understands firsthand that the relationship between the United States and Mexico goes well beyond issues of immigration, including critical trade and commerce alliances, and a shared culture." Other stories on this topic appeared in the Washington Post (Associated Press), La Opinion (in Spanish), Dallas Morning News, and NBC Online.
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2. UC Berkeley Water Experts Win 2014 Obama-Singh Award
India West

Berkeley's Institute for South Asia Studies has been selected for the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award for 2014. As part of an educational partnership between India and the U.S., the award will support a three-year project titled "Sustainable Indian Water Infrastructure Project: A Systems Approach," and it will be led by associate energy and resources professor Isha Ray, co-director of the Berkeley Water Center, and environmental engineering professor Kara Nelson. Civil and environmental engineering Professor Ashok Gadgil will also be involved.
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3. Used Batteries Might Help California Store Renewable Energy
Scientific American

A new report authored by Ethan Elkind, a climate policy associate at the Berkeley and UCLA law schools, concludes that used batteries from plug-in electric vehicles could help California meet its goals for energy storage. "Instead of recycling them immediately, the thousands of batteries that will be coming out of electric vehicles in the coming years could be repurposed, leading to a flood of inexpensive batteries that can provide energy storage services for customers, utilities, and grid operators," the study said. "These second-life batteries could provide multiple value streams to customers and grid operators and benefit the environment by integrating variable renewable energy and reducing the upfront cost of electric vehicles."
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4. Entrepreneurs Are Not Risk Seekers, Study Says

Business and entrepreneurship professor John Morgan has co-authored a new paper contending that most entrepreneurs are motivated by "loss aversion," contrary to the common impression that entrepreneurs are attracted to risk. "Our study says that the more glittering were your prospects when you became an entrepreneur, the harder you work and the more likely it is that you will succeed,” he says. “Loss aversion is something like fear of failure. If you passed up something really really good, that is going to have a huge influence on how you behave.” He says there are two implications of the study: “One is you don’t have to be different to be an entrepreneur,” he says. “If you don’t feel some inner calling to entrepreneurship, that’s not a reason to abandon the path.” At the same time, “If you had bad prospects outside the entrepreneurial market, your prospects within the entrepreneurial market aren’t very great either.”
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5. Crowdfunding Thought Leaders Gather in Berkeley to Discuss Future of Financial Innovation
Crowdfund Insider

Government policy makers, finance experts and online entrepreneurs gathered on campus last week for the second annual academic symposium sponsored by Berkeley's Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership. The event was organized by Richard Swart, director of research at the institute, and moderated by assistant finance professor Adair Morse. According to this article: "If attendees came away with anything from the two-day event, it was that education, even more than regulation, could be the make or break component that determines the growth and scalability of crowdfund investing in the United States."
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6. Preschoolers outsmart college kids: Younger minds are better learners

Berkeley researchers, led by psychology professor Alison Gopnik, have studied young children's approach to learning and found that they are able to find solutions to problems faster than some adults. The researchers attribute the advantage to greater flexibility and open-mindedness. "Children don’t know as much, they haven’t accumulated as much expertise, skill and knowledge, but that means they’re more open-minded. They’re more open to new, different possibilities and ways of doing things," Professor Gopnik says. Link to video.
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7. Ticker Blog: Berkeley to Block Course Registration of Students Who Skip Sex-Assault Training
Chronicle of Higher Education Online (*requires registration)

After 500 Berkeley students skipped a mandatory training session on sexual-violence prevention, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks called for registration blocks on those students until they complete the training. “If we can make a block for a library book that hasn’t been returned, we can make a block for this,” he told the UC regents at their monthly meeting. Campus spokeswoman Claire Holmes says that 6,500 students did attend the training, and the students who skipped have until October 1 to fulfill the requirement. Stories on this topic appeared multiple sources, including Marketplace and the Sacramento Bee (Associated Press).
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8. Forum with Michael Krasny: California Fires Update
KQED Radio

Fire science professor Scott Stephens, of Berkeley's College of Natural Resources, discusses the King Fire and other major fires burning around California. Link to audio.
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9. What could collapse the Golden Gate Bridge?
KALW Public Radio

Civil engineering professor Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl answers questions about disaster scenarios that could collapse the Golden Gate Bridge. Saying, “God forbid," and noting that it's "one of the best bridges in the world,” he goes on to acknowledge it's a valid question. He calculates how many people would have to stand on it (900,000) and the height of a wave (about 300 feet), and says the current retrofit on the bridge (which he is consulting on) will make the bridge safe in an 8.3 earthquake. That is the size seismologists have determined is the largest possible quake the San Andreas fault could generate. Link to audio.
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10. Deal Professor Blog: Allergan-Valeant Fight Holds Lessons for All Corporate Shareholders
New York Times Online (*requires registration)

Law professor Steven Davidoff Solomon writes about a hostile takeover battle Valeant Pharmaceuticals and hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management are waging over Allergan, the maker of Botox and other products. Professor Solomon also discussed Alibaba's IPO on Marketplace (link to audio).
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11. 2014 AIA Honor Awards -- Gold Medal: Julia Morgan
Architect Magazine

Iconic California architect and Berkeley alumna Julia Morgan was posthumously recognized with the annual Gold Medal presented by the American Institute of Architects earlier this year. Morgan, who died in 1957, had been trained as an engineer at Berkeley before becoming the first woman to graduate from the L'Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris in 1901. She went on to design more than 700 buildings, 21 of which are either National Historic Landmarks or are on the National Register of Historic Places. She is the first female recipient of the honor, which has been awarded for more than 100 years. This article about her career includes several photographs of some of her "staggering number of commissions."
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