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, 7 May 2014

1. Aiming To Be a Small World After All: Cal’s Plan to Shrink a Big, Impersonal Campus
California Magazine

Berkeley Connect, a new program that aims to personalize the undergraduate experience on campus, has been a success. Funded by a nearly $1 million donation from Cal alum and parent Peter Chernin, the program seeks to replicate the small classes and interpersonal dialogue found at small liberal arts colleges. More than 1,100 students in 10 majors have enrolled. “We’re the anti-MOOC,” says program director and English professor Maura Nolan, referring to mass open online courses. “At the core of our philosophy is the idea that personal contact is essential to education — that education happens more effectively and people have a better experience when they have personal contact with the people who are teaching them and with other people who are learning with them.” Full Story

2. IBM partners with universities on Watson project
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

Students at seven of the country's top computer science universities, including Berkeley, will be able to use IBM's famous cognitive computing system, Watson, in new classes next fall. The partnership between IBM and the universities will let students use the system to develop new cognitive computing applications in various fields, including health care and finance. Full Story

3. The crowd will see you now: Company taps Web for tough diagnoses
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)

Dr. Amin Azzam, of the UC-Berkeley/UC-San Francisco Joint Medical Program, is mentioned in an article about the company CrowdMed, an online resource where medical professionals, students, and average people can help users diagnose ailments. Dr. Azzam directs "problem-based learning" curriculum, and he wants to use CrowdMed "to push the boundaries of how we train medical students." Instead of teaching first- and second-year students with "pretend patients," as is done now, Azzam is proposing adding CrowdMed's cases to the curriculum. "They might even be more motivated to learn because it's a real patient, not a fake patient." Full Story

4. Kelp Watch 2014 - No Radiation From Fukushima Detected On West Coast
Science 2.0

Nuclear engineering professor Kai Vetter, also head of applied nuclear physics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been collaborating on an effort called Kelp Watch 2014 to detect signs of radioactive seawater arriving on the West Coast from Japan's crippled Fukushima power plant. Samples were gathered in February and March from dozens of sites along the coast, from Kodiak Island in Alaska to Baja California, as well as around Hawaii and Guam. All the tests were negative for Fukushima radiation. Another story on this topic appeared in the San Jose Mercury News. Full Story

5. Green buildings may not enhance job satisfaction and performance, claims study
Workplace Insight

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. Full Story

6. Health care, and patients, go south — to Mexico
USA Today

Xochitl Castaneda, director of the health initiative of the Americas at U.C. Berkeley's School of Public Health, comments on why many legal immigrants from Mexico return to their home country for medical care. He says Mexican clinics offer something not always found in the U.S. "In Spanish, we say calidad and calidez, quality and warmth," she says. "When you are sick, you need medical support. You also need emotional support. That is something that Mexican physicians give." Full Story

7. Y Combinator known for picking winners
Sacramento Bee

Entrepreneurship lecturer Steve Blank comments on Paul Graham's withdrawal from his leadership role at the startup accelerator Y Combinator, which Graham co-founded in 2005. "Paul (Graham) retiring is kind of like Steve Jobs' going away," Blank says. "Just like Apple didn't fold and won't fold in a day, neither will Y Combinator, but Apple's innovation era is over. ... Is there another Steve Jobs at Y Combinator or is Tim Cook running the show?" Full Story

8. State Department approves more visas for Afghan interpreters
Washington Post

The State Department is trying to accelerate its approval of resettlement visas for Afghan military interpreters. This should be good news to Berkeley law student Adrian Kinsella, a U.S. veteran who has been trying to help his former interpreter for more than three years. “I assumed it would be a slam-dunk application. ... I am a college-educated military officer, familiar with all kinds of bureaucracy,” he wrote last year in a plea to a senator. “Still, I have found the paperwork and frustration involved in this process to often rise to Kafkaesque levels.” Full Story

9. Richmond takes step toward higher minimum wage
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

Ken Jacobs, chairman of Berkeley's Labor Center, comments on the wrangling over Richmond's proposed minimum wage hike. He says that exemptions create harmful incentives that could cause discrimination against younger workers and sap the law's effectiveness. "Simplicity is vital" in wage ordinances, he says. Full Story

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