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, 24 May 2017

1. Animals are conscientious too: Researchers find reptiles, birds, and even insects show scruples and a strong work ethic
Daily Mail (UK)

Following a review of nearly 4,000 studies of animal behavior, Berkeley researchers have concluded that animals throughout the animal kingdom -- including insects, reptiles, birds, and fish -- are conscientious, with strong work ethics and scruples. Noting the evolutionary benefits of attributes such as industriousness, neatness, cautiousness, tenacity and self-discipline, doctoral psychology student and study co-author Mikel Delgado says: "Honeybees who are more likely to remove bee carcasses from their hive have more offspring, and birds who keep their nests tidier are less susceptible to being preyed on." Delgado worked on the project with psychology professor Frank Sulloway. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Xinhua also issued a story on this topic.
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2. How X-rays helped to solve mystery of floating rocks

In a series of X-ray experiments conducted at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source, a has solved the mystery of why porous volcanic rocks, or pumice stones, float. The buoyancy of the rocks can be surprisingly long-lasting, with rafts of pumice debris capable of flotating for thousands of miles. "The question of floating pumice has been around the literature for a long time, and it hadn't been resolved," Fauria says. "It was originally thought that the pumice's porosity is essentially sealed," Fauria said, like a corked bottle floating in the sea. But pumice's pores are actually largely open and connected—more like an uncorked bottle. "If you leave the cap off and it still floats ... what's going on?" Ultimately, they found that the stones' gas-trapping processes relate to "surface tension," a chemical interaction between the water's surface and the air above it that acts like a thin skin. "The process that's controlling this floating happens on the scale of human hair," Fauria says. "Many of the pores are really, really small, like thin straws all wound up together. So surface tension really dominates." Another story on this topic appeared in the International Business Times.
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3. Five things American colleges need to do to help black and Latino students
The Hechinger Report

In a list of five steps that every college should take to help every student succeed, one of the recommendations -- to encourage students to study in groups -- is illustrated by a Berkeley program that got its start more than 40 years ago. Uri Treisman, then a graduate mathematics student, investigated why so many black undergraduates were failing calculus while Chinese students were excelling. Treisman and his team noticed that the Chinese students were working in groups, while the black students were working in isolation. Treisman then created what would eventually be called the Emerging Scholars Program, bringing black and Latino students together to work in groups. It was so successful that black and Latino students began to outperform white and Asian students in their classes, going on to earn doctorate degrees and find their way into professional careers. Treisman's program has thrived since, becoming a national model. In 1992, he received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant recognizing his work; and in 1999, Black Issues in Higher Education magazine named him one of the 20th century's outstanding leaders in higher education.
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4. Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business
San Francisco Business Times (*requires registration)

Carol Christ, Berkeley's interim executive vice chancellor and Chancellor-designate, is on a San Francisco Business Times list of the most influential women in Bay Area business in 2017, to be honored at a dinner and awards ceremony at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square on June 14. Link to article for ticket information.
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5. Boy Scouts bring budding parklet to bloom over Berkeley's upper Solano Avenue
East Bay Times (*requires registration)

With grants from the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund and others, a local Boy Scout troop is helping to build a parklet on upper Solano Avenue in Berkeley. It is the fourth in a three-year, 10-parklet pilot project. As collaborators, Berkeley graduate students studied feasibility, circulation, traffic safety, and ways that the project could benefit local businesses.
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6. Bay Area Book Festival a weekend dedicated to all things literary
East Bay Times (*requires registration)

The third annual Bay Area Book Festival comes to the Berkeley community the weekend of June 3-4, with a two-day indoor-outdoor festival spreading from Civic Center Park to nearby blocks and the Berkeley campus. A literary film series called "Auteur, Author: Film & Literature" will be held at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (from May 31 through June 4), and interactive activities for families will be offered at the Lawrence Hall of Science. The celebration is expected to attract more than 50,000 people to 100 literary sessions, with 200 authors from around the world participating. "It's a really creative series and we've gotten attention nationwide for programming it. If you want to get out of the crowds at the festival it can be really nice to go to one of these films," says festival founder and executive director Cherilyn Parsons. Faculty authors participating in the festival include sociology professor emerita Arlie Hochschild, economics professor Clair Brown, psychology professor Dacher Keltner, and journalism lecturer Deirdre English. For more on the festival, visit: Bay Area Book Festival.
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