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, 25 November 2015
1. Berkeley in the News will take a break for the Thanksgiving holiday on November 26 and 27, resuming publication on Monday, November 30.
2. Feeding Forward: Using tech to help feed the hungry
Inspired in 2011 by a lunch she shared with a homeless vet, student Komal Ahmed started Feeding Forward, a program in which UC Berkeley's dining halls donated leftover food to local homeless shelters. That was in 2013. Today, the company has broadened its scope, using cloud-based technology to match businesses that have extra food with nearby shelters and other organizations serving low income communities that need food donations in real-time. "Our food matching intelligence on our backend can tell us 'Okay, this is where this donation is, we'll be here," Ahmad says. "This is a list of recipient agencies that are available at this time that can accept this food. That streamlines the process infinitely, so that is the differentiating factor between other organizations and us and this is how we make this process smarter."
3. KQED Quest: Bringing Dark Energy to Light
Scientists believe that dark energy -- a mysterious force comprising roughly two-thirds of the universe -- is driving galaxies further away from each other at an ever-increasing rate, and now they're hoping to send a new NASA telescope called WFIRST into space to see if they can figure the phenomenon out. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Saul Perlmutter says about the telescope: "You can see hundreds of times more sky at a time. ... And it's also designed for just the wave length range, just the colors, where we need to study the supernovae and the other galaxies in order to study dark energy." Link to video.
4. Virtue, Vice, and the U.S. Senate
Investigating whether virtuous leaders or those with narcissistic, psychopathic or Machiavellian traits make the most effective leaders, postdoctoral business fellow Leanne ten Brinke studied C-SPAN clips of senators' speeches on the Senate floor between 1989 and 1998. Looking for a checklist of traits and measuring the influence of the senators, the researchers determined that virtuous senators were most influential. "Our results inform a long-standing debate about the role of morality and ethics in leadership and have important implications for electing effective government officials," the researchers concluded.
5. Business Literature: A Good Barrel for Bad Apples in Business
Strategy + Business
Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception (Princeton, 2015), co-authored by Nobel Prize-winning economists George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, is reviewed. An excerpt reads: "Free markets do not just deliver this cornucopia that people want. They also create an economic equilibrium that is highly suitable for economic enterprises that manipulate and distort our judgment, using business practices that are analogous to biological cancers that make their home in the normal equilibrium of the human body. ... Insofar as we have any weakness in knowing what we really want, and also insofar as such a weakness can be profitably generated and primed, markets will seize the opportunity to take us in on those weaknesses. They will zoom in and take advantage of us. They will phish us for phools."
6. Want to reward employees? Show gratitude
"It's the habit that people bring to the workplace," Emiliana Simon-Thomas, science director at Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center says in a story about the rarity of gratitude in the workplace. "They feel reluctant at work to say thank you but those bosses who do actually tend to be more respected," she notes.
7. Argentina's President-Elect Playing Dangerous Game With the Peso
"History is littered with the corpses of countries that have abandoned capital controls precipitously," economics professor Barry Eichengreen says in a story about Argentine President-Elect Mauricio Macri's pledge to eliminate foreign-exchange currency controls as soon as he takes office next month. Professor Eichengreen was a senior policy advisor to the International Monetary Fund during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis.
8. Obama Gives His Plan to Fight Islamic State an Emotional Makeover
"When he expresses anger, it's in a tamped-down tone that doesn't satisfy the desire for Sonny Corleone-style bravado, or bluster as the case may be," linguist and information professor Geoff Nunberg says about President Obama's manner of speech in a joint press conference with French President François Hollande on Tuesday. "Even when he uses words like 'barbaric,' 'murderous,' and 'scourge,' you have no sense of anger brimming up inside of him," Professor Nunberg adds, noting that while a calm manner can often translate into a greater command of power, it's "less cathartic for the public" than the more heated rhetoric we've been hearing from politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz.
9. 'White Student Union' Groups Set Off Concerns at Campuses
New York Times (*requires registration)
In a statement condemning inflammatory and apparently faked "White Student Union" Facebook pages posted in the names of dozens of colleges nationwide, Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks said the posters "clearly intended to fuel conflict and provocation rather than to foster a serious and constructive dialogue among students about issues of race." Stories on this topic have appeared in more than 100 sources.
10. Obituary: Douglass North, Co-Recipient of 1993 Nobel Prize, Dies
New York Times
Alum Douglass C. North, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, has died at the age of 95. He won the award for his work using economic theory and quantitative methods to explain economic and institutional change. He earned both his undergraduate and doctorate degrees at Berkeley. Obituaries of Professor North appeared in dozens of sources, including the Washington Post.
11. Obituary: San Francisco real estate tycoon Doug Shorenstein has died
San Francisco Business Times (*requires registration)
Alum Doug Shorenstein, a prominent San Francisco real estate developer, has died at the age of 60 from cancer. He earned his B.A. at Berkeley.
12. Photos: The Beauty of Urban Blight in New York and San Francisco
A selection of photographs by College of Environmental Design lecturer Janet Delaney depict urban neighborhoods in New York and San Francisco. Delaney recently had an exhibit of her photos of San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood displayed at the de Young Museum. She has won numerous awards for her work, including three National Endowment for the Arts grants. Link to slideshow.
13. Are Some Things Getting Better?
"Take heart: zigging and zagging, three steps forward and two steps back, slowly but surely we can and will make our world a better place," writes Rick Hanson, a senior fellow at Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, in a commentary about how important it is that we recognize what's getting better in our lives and world, not just what's worse.