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, 23 September 2016

1. Editorial: The Bay Area's creativity and generosity is on full display
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

The $3 billion, 10-year pledge by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, to fund disease research co-led by UC Berkeley scientists provides "abundant proof" that the Bay Area is inventive and ambitious, according to this editorial. "The expenditure underscores this region's powerful role in shaping the future for technology, scientific research and ground-breaking philanthropy. The contribution combines generosity with a vision that even the two sponsors say is way out there. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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2. Op-Ed: Don't forsake poor people in climate change fight
Sacramento Bee

Reporting on their study of the first few years of California's cap-and-trade program, environmental health science professor Rachel Morello-Frosch and USC sociology professor Manuel Pastor write that certain concerns about the system "may be well-founded." The problem they see is that allowing facilities to pay for emissions reductions elsewhere, including outside of California, lets them "forgo local reductions in co-pollutants, such as particulates and other toxics that more directly impact disadvantaged communities." They conclude: "Environmental justice concerns, now proven to have merit, should be taken into account as we seek to achieve environmental equity and sustainability goals."
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3. In San Francisco, a Sinking Skyscraper and a Deepening Dispute
New York Times (*requires registration)

The sinking and leaning Millennium Tower in San Francisco is highlighting the risks posed by San Francisco's relatively unfettered rash of skyscraper-building, both because of the quality of the soil and the city's position between two major earthquake faults. "This is the first sentinel telling us maybe we should be a little more careful," says civil engineering professor Nicholas Sitar. "Any time you have a tall structure leaning, you have to start looking very carefully." He says the city's soil conditions are "very challenging" for engineers. "For a long time you didn't see very tall structures in San Francisco." Seismic research and engineering advances may have made engineers more confident, he suggests. "Is that confidence warranted?" he asks. "To some extent it is. At that the same time, there has to be an abundance of caution."
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4. These researchers think we're nearing 'peak car' and the consequences could be dramatic
Washington Post (*requires registration)

The Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy-focused think tank, has released a report suggesting that we are on the verge of a very rapid energy and technology transformation emerging from two vehicle trends automation and electrification. The resulting decrease in greenhouse-gas emissions per year by 2035 could be as much as 800 million tons, they say. Weighing in on the report, Susan Shaheen, co-director of Berkeley's Transportation Sustainability Research Center, says: "I think the purpose of papers like this is to set a visionary plan," but she also noted potential drawbacks, including regulatory challenges. "By 2018, a question to ask is, are cities going to be ready to convert to a shared, automated, electrified fleet?" she asks. "Chances are, we will not be at that point."
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5. Flooding disaster in North Korea: How rare is it for the country to accept outside relief?

After disastrous flooding wiped out entire villages, killing more than 100 people and displacing as many as 150,000 in one of the poorest regions of North Korea earlier this month, some countries and organizations are beginning to send humanitarian aid. Economics and political science professor Gerard Roland says that the nation will accept the monetary aid, but whether it will go to the affected people is questionable. "They don't trust anybody outside North Korea. However, they're also very cynical; they will use any aid that they can get to prop up the regime to divert resources to the military program."
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6. Obituary: Pioneering California physicist dies; built important tool
Washington Post (*requires registration)

Alum Edward Joseph Lofgren, a pioneering physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has died at the age of 102. He led the development and operation of the lab's Bevatron, an early particle accelerator that played a role in the Manhattan Project and was pivotal in the study the universe. He attended Berkeley as an undergraduate and graduate student, earning his doctorate in 1946. According to his daughter, Claire, he once told her that what led to his becoming a physicist was an experience he had at 5 or 6, lying under a tree and watching the branches blow. "He was watching the tree move and wondering if the tree was making the wind or the wind was making the tree move," she said. "Those types of questions never left him." This obit appeared in more than 100 sources.
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7. Young filmmakers thank the academy at Student Academy Awards
Washington Post (*requires registration)

Journalism student Daphne Matziaraki was among 17 young filmmakers awarded Student Academy Awards Thursday night in Beverly Hills. She was honored for her documentary, "4.1 Miles," about a Greek coast guard captain on the island of Lesbos during the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. The awards were chosen from a record 1,749 submissions, and all the winning films are now eligible for Academy Awards. This story appeared in more than 100 sources, including The Wrap.
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8. 13.7 Cosmos & Culture Blog: A Web of Trees and Their 'Hidden' Lives
NPR Online

Philosophy professor Alva No discusses a "dreamy and strange" new book about the secret life of trees, written by a German forester. He says: "The Wood Wide Web" the author describes "is a community of trees and microbes, aphids, fungi and birds, one in which dense connectivity and mutual interdependence are the norm (and are missing in the forest-farms of the modern world). Communication, shared and competing interests, learning and adaptation, all play a critical role. Even personality, or character, are in evidence in the forest."
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