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.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

1. TV, Google, and bendy straws: Bay Area inventions and discoveries
San Francisco Chronicle Online

A round-up of Bay Area inventions and discoveries begins: "Since the Gold Rush days, when people like Levi Strauss set up shop in San Francisco, the Bay Area has been a hotbed of innovation. With UC Berkeley on one side and Stanford University and Silicon Valley on the other, many of the inventions and discoveries of the Bay Area are shared around the globe." In a slide show, inventions and discoveries with Berkeley roots include the atomic bomb, canned fruit cocktails, Vitamins E and K, sixteen chemical elements, the Calvin Cycle (illustrating how carbon dioxide turns to sugar), synthetic artemisinin (a malaria drug), 250 exoplanets, the Rube Goldberg machine, the helium and oxygen mixture that helps deep-sea divers avoid the bends, and the neoprene wetsuit. Full Story

2. Cal Performances season offers ‘world-beating innovation’

Cal Performances has announced its 2014-15 season. The line-up includes cellist Yo Yo Ma performing Bach solo cello suites, Robert Wilson’s production of Daniil Kharms’ The Old Woman, with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, a residency with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Australian Ballet’s Swan Lake (which includes the love triangle of Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles), and Project TenFourteen, where the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players perform ten world premieres. Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of London’s Barbican Centre, joined Cal Performances artistic director Matias Tarnopolsky at the launch. He said: "You have world-beating innovation here. ... Anywhere in the world would be envious of what you have in this season." Full Story

3. UC admission harder than ever for Californians
Oakland Tribune

An Oakland Tribune analysis has shown that admission rates at four key UC schools, including Berkeley, have dropped by more than 50 percent since the mid-1990s. At Berkeley, the number of Californians enrolling has remained flat, although out-of-state and international enrollment has tripled in the past 20 years. According to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, the campus plans to raise the proportion of non-Californian undergraduates from 20 to 23 percent. "In order to sustain the excellence of our programs and the student experience, tuition from out of state and international students is crucial," he said in an announcement. Full Story

4. African American students weigh campus attitudes in picking colleges
Los Angeles Times

Since California's Proposition 209 was enacted 20 years ago, the ban on consideration of race in public college admissions has led to a significant decline in the number of black students at UCLA, UC Berkeley and other campuses in the state. Full Story

5. Scalia gets his facts wrong in EPA dissent
Washington Post

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. Professor Farber called the mistake "cringe-worthy" and "hugely embarrassing," especially since Scalia wrote the opinion he mistakenly cited for support. Full Story

6. Oklahoma execution nightmare shines light on California policies
San Francisco Chronicle

Law professor Elizabeth Semel, director of Berkeley Law's Death Penalty Clinic, comments on the Oklahoma execution conducted Tuesday with an experimental three-drug cocktail, which evidently caused unusual pain and suffering. One of the problems with the Oklahoma execution is that officials have refused to disclose details about the cocktail that was administered. Professor Semel notes that California is less secretive, but with a dwindling supply of execution drugs, prison officials in other states have resorted to non-FDA chemicals or compound drugs whose manufacturers are reluctant to be identified. "The less reliable the source of chemicals, the greater the need to know who is manufacturing them and what their composition is," as the Oklahoma execution illustrates, she says. Full Story

7. Botched Oklahoma execution comes as alternatives emerge from shadows

Megan McCracken, a legal consultant at Berkeley Law's Death Penalty Clinic, comments on the Oklahoma execution conducted Tuesday with an experimental three-drug cocktail. She says that although lethal injections may appear serene, the inmate could be suffering greatly. "The prisoner could be conscious and in extraordinary agony, but once that paralytic is administered, we would never see it," she says. Full Story

8. Report: High Rates of Pesticide Use Near Many California Schools
KQED Online

Asa Bradman, associate director of Berkeley's Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH), reviewed a California Department of Public Health report finding that tens of thousands of California students attend schools near farms where heavy amounts of pesticides are used. “We’re trying to understand how pesticides are used, what their potential toxicity is, identify communities where additional research is warranted, and then potentially take steps to reduce those exposures,” he says. Full Story

9. NBC News Latino: 'Making Hispanics': How One Term United A Diverse Group
NBC News Online

In an interview about her new book, Making Hispanics, assistant sociology professor G. Cristina Mora talked about her study of the wide variety of words used to describe Americans of Hispanic descent. "There was such a tremendous diversity in the way people looked, in the foods they ate, it got me thinking how 'weird' this Hispanic category is, even if we take it for granted," she said. This story also appeared in Louisiana's Bayou Buzz. Full Story

10. Obama Administration Names 55 Schools Facing Sex Assault Probe
Wall Street Journal Online

The U.S. Department of Education has released a list of 55 colleges and universities around the U.S. that are under review for their handling of sexual assault and harassment complaints. The investigation pertains to possible violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex at institutions that receive public funds. Berkeley is on the list of colleges. Stories on this topic appeared in hundreds of sources, including the San Jose Mercury News (AP). Full Story

11. Drone technology in Berkeley may see further study

Kene Akametalu, an electrical engineering doctoral student and Oakland Science and Mathematics Outreach (OSMO) mentor, attended a Berkeley City Council meeting Tuesday to argue against a proposed city ban on drones. He works in a research lab on campus and told the council that his group is studying technology for both manned and unmanned vehicles to create better safety systems and increase their ability to avoid collisions. “Banning drones in Berkeley would constrain our research,” he said. “It would make Berkeley less attractive to world-class researchers and give an advantage to our competitors.” Full Story

12. Kid Scientists Make Real Fossil Finds at the USA Science & Engineering Festival
Scientific American

Psychology and neuroscience professor Robert Knight was in Washington, D.C., for the USA Science & Engineering Festival this past weekend. He helped inspire children at the Scientific American booth. Full Story

Today's Edition of UC Berkeley in the News