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.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

1. UC Berkeley Law School Names New Dean
Berkeley Patch

Renowned comparative constitutional law scholar Sujit Choudhry, currently of the New York University School of Law, has been named the next dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, effective July 1, 2014. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele calls Choudhry a “brilliant scholar, professor, and mentor,” who would inspire and lead with “big ideas” during a time of rapid change in the legal profession. “Choudhry’s enduring commitment to social mobility, diversity, and educational excellence will bring renewed energy to the law school’s core mission of public service and community engagement.” Full Story

2. New Biochip Mimics Liver To Make Drug Discovery Faster, Easier
Science Blog

A team of researchers including Chemistry Dean Douglas S. Clark has developed a new type of biochip that mimics the metabolism of a human liver. The device could accelerate drug development by eliminating the need to harvest and use liver cells from human cadavers to test drug toxicity. Full Story

3. Green buildings don’t create happier workers, yet
Science Blog

A new study co-authored by assistant architecture professor Stefano Schiavon, a sustainability expert at Berkeley's Center for the Built Environment, has found that people working in buildings with LEED certification appear no more satisfied with their indoor environment than workers in conventional buildings. "Does this mean that green certification is outdated, just costly or even useless?” Professor Schiavon asked. “Certainly not," he says, "especially given the urgency of the environmental challenge and the fundamental role of buildings on people health and wellbeing, climate change and energy security.” Full Story

4. How top-two primary system has changed California politics
San Francisco Chronicle

A recent symposium at Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies addressed the new election system in California, in which the top two finishers in the June 3 primary races advance to the November election regardless of party. Douglas Ahler, a scholar at the institute, said his studies show "little evidence that the top-two format benefits moderate candidates." Partisan voters, he said, are still most likely to vote in primaries. Full Story

5. Conspiracy, In Theory

Adjunct assistant city and regional planning professor Karen Trapenberg Frick has tracked the campaign of conservative activists opposing Agenda 21 sustainable development initiatives around the country. Agenda 21 is a nonbinding resolution signed by President George H.W. Bush and 177 other world leaders at the end of the United National 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Over the past three years, conservatives have introduced anti-Agenda 21 bills or nonbinding resolutions in a total of 26 states, passing such efforts in five of them, according to data Professor Frick compiled. Her research suggests that even when state bills fail, they ultimately "inspire imitation and create momentum" for the movement, resulting in more converts. “Some activists—certainly not all, but some—are starting to shape-shift a bit to speak the language of city planners,” she says. Full Story

6. Op-Ed Column: Complex racial disparities raise troubling questions for us all
Sacramento Bee

History Professor Emeritus David Hollinger weighs in on the higher-than-average dropout rates of African American and Latino high school students. Comparing Latinos' rates to those of Asians, he says: “Conditions prior to immigration are critical. ... Yes, there are low-skilled Asians in some particular groups, but by and large, immigrant subsets such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Asian Indians have very high skill sets to begin with – engineers, doctors, computers, English fluency. ... People coming here from Mexico don’t have those kinds of skills.” With the Latino population that’s been here for 50 years or so, he says, you see significant upward social mobility. As for African Americans, he says: “You’re talking about a group with a multicentury legacy of slavery and institutionalized debasement. ... The majority of the black population lives in the ex-Confederacy where they were getting little education and no voting rights until 50 or 60 years ago. It takes a long time for such population groups to change.” Full Story

7. Op-Ed: Essay on the death of the promise of the University of California
Inside Higher Ed

Alumnus Arturo Hernandez writes about his immigrant family's climb up the academic ladder, wondering if the future of public higher education still holds the same promise for others. Full Story

8. Beyond Honeybees: Now Wild Bees and Butterflies May Be in Trouble

New research is showing that it's not just America's honeybee colonies that are collapsing -- many wild pollinators, including butterflies, moths, and bumblebees, are also at risk. Berkeley environmental science, policy and management professor Claire Kremen says that it’s difficult to quantify the harms caused by pesticides, but “it’s logical to think they’re having some kind of effect. ... It’s amazing we see as many pollinators as we do. Those are the ones who’ve survived this continuous pummeling.” Full Story

9. Biomimicry Column: Will the rise of the East mean the fall of the world?
Green Biz

Global environmental health sciences professor Kirk Smith is mentioned in a story about biodiversity loss. In a recent address to the Clean Cookstove Forum 2013 in Bangalore, he noted that the percentage of those in India burning biomass as a source of cooking has decreased, from 85 percent in 1990 to 60 percent in 2010, but the overall number of households burning indoor fires to cook has remained the same at 700 million. The contradiction is attributed to population growth. Full Story

10. Cal's academic performance in football improves
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

The Berkeley campus has announced that its 2012-13 Academic Performance Rate (APR) for football jumped 46 points from its 2011-12 score, showing significant improvement. Athletic director Sandy Barbour said Monday that the improvements are the result of changes in the support structure and academic culture within the athletic department. "It's every day, everything you say to them," she said. Another story on this topic appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. Full Story

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