Berkeley in the News Archive

The links to the stories summarized on this page are time sensitive, so stories might no longer be online at that URL. We also include links to the original source publication itself.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

1. Cal Performances: New season features Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, Yo-Yo-Ma, Sasha Waltz, more
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

Cal Performances has announced its 2014-15 season. The line-up includes "regulars" such as the Mark Morris Dance Group, Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, and Alvin Ailey Theater, as well as new or long-unseen groups such as the German dance company Sasha Waltz and Guests, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Australian Ballet, and the Nile Project. Ojai North will take place in June. Full Story

2. Supreme Court debates police permission to search cell phones

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments for two cases regarding "unreasonable search and seizure" of smartphones. Law professor Jennifer Urban, director of Berkeley's Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, says that the key issue is not only the distinction between whether something is considered private information, but where that private information is located. "When you're talking about a contemporary smartphone, you're not talking about a phone. You're talking about a computer. … Because data on the phone is so rich, the reasonable burden on the police may look more like the burden of obtaining information on a computer in a house." According to her research, 60 percent of Americans believe the information on their phone is just as private as data on their computers, and the opinion is even more strongly held among young people. She also says that 76 percent believe police should obtain permission from a court before searching a cell phone. Full Story

3. Among wasps, bigger eyes evolved the better to see social cues
Science Blog

A study led by postdoctoral fellow Michael Sheehan, of Berkeley's Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genomics, has found that some wasps have developed bigger eyes to better read the social cues of fellow wasps. "The Big Bad Wolf had it right,” he says. “When Little Red Riding Hood said, 'Goodness, what big eyes you have,' he replied, 'The better to see you with.' … We found convincing evidence that the wasps evolved better vision for the purpose of telling one another apart. This is consistent with the idea that hearing, smelling, seeing or other sensory capabilities in animals, including humans, may have evolved in response to communication signals like we see in the wasp." Full Story

4. Student leads Thorsen House restoration in Berkeley
San Francisco Chronicle

A two-unit class called the Thorsen Restoration Project has been developed for architecture students at Berkeley. Now in its second semester, the course offers students practical experience restoring a historic 105-year-old redwood Arts and Crafts bungalow designed by Greene and Greene, while providing the California Sigma Phi Society residents of the house much-needed help with maintenance. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and architecture Professor Dana Buntrock says: "You've got a situation where the private organization that owns it (Thorsen) is far from wealthy, and there isn't a lot of money floating around to preserve it. … We do not normally do preservation." Student Lauren Aguillar, an undergraduate co-teaching the class, says: "Thorsen House is the only example of Arts and Crafts architecture by Greene and Greene in Berkeley, and there is never going to be another one." Link to video. Full Story

5. Blind architect sports an upbeat vision
Los Angeles Times

Blind architect Chris Downey is profiled. He lost his eyesight six years ago after surgery for a non-cancerous brain tumor, but he has continued to maintain his practice and teach at Berkeley. "I have a career without sight. But as an architect, I still have vision," he says. "The creative process is a mental process." Full Story

6. Teaching Difficult Histories: Rwanda's Post-Genocide Experience
National Geographic Online

Education professor Sarah Freedman helped coordinate a team led by Rwandan educators and scholars to start teaching the country's history, including addressing the genocide that took place there 20 years ago. "Children and parents were really disturbed by the delay, as was the leadership in education," she says. About ten years ago, tentative steps were taken, and education officials engaged international academics, like Freedman, to help develop secondary school materials. Full Story

7. Fast Food Pulls a Fast One
Huffington Post

The public policy and advocacy group Demos has issued a study called "Fast Food Failure" about the tax subsidies that support underpaid fast-food workers while huge profits go to industry CEOS. The report cites an analysis co-authored by Berkeley researchers: "87 percent of front-line fast food workers do not receive health benefits through their jobs. Since fast food employers do not pay for the critical needs of low-wage workers and their families, public programs foot the bill. … According to the same study, more than half of front-line fast food employees are enrolled in a public assistance program, at a cost of nearly $7 billion per year." Full Story

8. Fact Checker Blog: Biden’s partisan view of the nation’s economic disparity
Washington Post

Income inequality data from an analysis by economics professor Emmanuel Saez is cited in a critique of remarks Vice President Joe Biden made in an April 28 speech. Full Story

9. Scientists Can’t Read Your Mind With Brain Scans (Yet)

A story about "mind reading" research mentions neuroscience professor Jack Gallant's work. In 2011, his lab conducted a study using fMRI scans to decode video imagery while people watched clips from Hollywood films. Full Story

10. Thirteen Things Mindful People Do Differently Every Day
Huffington Post

Researchers at Berkeley and the University of Zurich found the ability to laugh at oneself correlated with elevated mood, cheerful personality, and a sense of humor. Full Story

11. Op-Ed: In-state students shouldn't get left out in cold at UC
San Francisco Chronicle

Jack Tibbetts, a Berkeley senior studying political science, writes about growing out-of-state enrollment at Berkeley and other UC campuses. "As a transfer student studying at UC Berkeley, I greatly appreciate the diversity and differing perspectives out-of-state and international students bring to our campus community," he says. "Without a healthy number of out-of-state students, our university system would not be the institution it is today. Like any in-state student, out-of-state students should have the opportunity to study here. However, out-of-state students should never be given priority because they pay $26,000 a year more in fees than their in-state counterparts." Full Story

12. Oklahoma halts double execution after one is botched
Los Angeles Times

Jen Moreno, an attorney with Berkeley Law's Death Penalty Clinic, weighs in on the Oklahoma execution conducted Tuesday with an experimental three-drug cocktail, which evidently caused unusual pain and suffering. Moreno has called on Oklahoma officials to disclose how much of each drug in the cocktail were administered and whether the process went correctly. She says she would want to know, for example, whether the vein popped because of a misplaced IV or if the drugs did not go down the tube properly. “Part of the issue we see in Oklahoma, Missouri and Louisiana is they aren’t willing to provide a lot of details. … The states are taking actions that have bad consequences, but they also have all the information. Until plaintiffs have access to those answers, we’ll continue to see this happen." Another story quoting Moreno on this topic appeared in the New York Times. Full Story

13. In the U.S., Punishment Comes Before the Crimes
International New York Times (*requires registration)

A book co-authored by associate public policy professor Steven Raphael is cited in a story about the United States' crime-fighting strategies. The authors posited that what has driven up imprisonment rates in the country is policy, not crime. Believing rehabilitation efforts were futile, policy-makers resorted to mandatory sentencing laws, minimum sentences, and in some states “three strikes” laws. As a result, the prison population surged. Full Story

14. Donald Sterling: Will it be hard to force him out of NBA?
Christian Science Monitor

Law professor Jesse Choper comments on National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver's efforts to oust Donald Sterling from the NBA. “It seems clear to me that Silver has recognized substantial difficulty in forcing [Sterling] to sell against his will and there are several interpretations of the NBA rules that might lend themselves to that,” he says. “Some of the rules are not clear and would take only a court to decide. My guess is they are hoping he will realize he can make a nice profit by selling, and that he will.” Full Story

15. Law Blog: Supreme Court Corrects Scalia’s ‘Cringeworthy’ Error in Pollution Case
Wall Street Journal Online (*requires registration)

Law professor Daniel Farber was among the first to discover an error made by Justice Antonin Scalia in an opinion on an air pollution regulation ruling. In his dissent, Justice Scalia attributed an argument to the EPA when it had, in fact, been made by the American Trucking Association. “Either some law clerk made the mistake and Scalia failed to read his own dissent carefully enough, or he simply forgot the basics of the earlier case and his clerks failed to correct him," Professor Farber said. "Either way, it’s a cringeworthy blunder.” Full Story

16. Morning Edition: Why Is A French Economist's 700-Page Book So Popular?

French economist Thomas Piketty [a frequent co-author of Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez] was on campus recently to talk about his best-selling new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Although seniors Christopher Hussy and Naomi Egel and graduate student Kevin McNellis had not yet read the 700-page tome, they were interested in what he had to say. "I had two classes this semester where professors keep bringing him up," said Egel. "I figured if he's coming here it's a pretty cool opportunity." Link to audio. Full Story

17. Review: ‘Annie Parker’ depicts cancer breakthrough
Washington Post

The movie Decoding Annie Parker tells the true story of two women -- cancer patient Annie Parker and geneticist Mary-Claire King. King, played by Helen Hunt, was at Berkeley when she identified the gene responsible for hereditary breast cancer. Full Story

18. Forum with Michael Krasny: Jazz Icon Marcus Shelby on his Work and Duke Ellington's Legacy
KQED Radio

On Friday, May 2, Cal Performances presents Marcus Shelby's 16-piece orchestra celebrating the legacy of jazz legend Duke Ellington, born 115 years ago this week. Shelby is interviewed here about his music, career and the influence and talent of Duke Ellington. Link to audio. Full Story

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