Science + Health

Evolve or Die: A Q&A with Anna Thanukos

No issue of a magazine devoted to the theme of Adaptation would be complete without some attention paid to biological evolution, à la Charles Darwin. To learn more about the subject we turned to Anna Thanukos, M.A. ’00, Ph.D. ’02, principal editor of Understanding Evolution, a free Web resource produced by the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Read more about Evolve or Die: A Q&A with Anna Thanukos »

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

Can We Learn to Grow Color? Butterfly Wings May Hold the Answer

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, humans have been buttering up the natural world for a long time. It’s often called biomimicry. Think Olympic swimmers in sharkskin-inspired suits, bullet trains shaped like kingfisher beaks, or the ubiquitous Velcro, which was famously modeled after plant burrs.  

Yet all of these examples depend on man-made materials and processes. What if we took biomimicry one step further and learned how to grow structures the way they grow in nature? Read more about Can We Learn to Grow Color? Butterfly Wings May Hold the Answer »

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

The Starship or the Canoe: Where Will Our Future Adaptations Be?

IN 2015, an observatory high in the Atacama Desert of Chile detected three planets orbiting an M star, an ultra-cool dwarf, in the constellation Aquarius about 40 light years, or 232 trillion miles, from Earth. Until then, the dim star was designated 2MASS J23062928-0502285. Not such a charming name. The discoverers of its satellites, a team of astronomers who operate the Chilean observatory remotely from Liege in Belgium, took the opportunity to warm up that appellation. Read more about The Starship or the Canoe: Where Will Our Future Adaptations Be? »

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

The Buzz About the Zika Virus

Nearly a year after the Rio Olympics, babies in the city’s favelas are still being born with microcephaly as a consequence of the Zika virus. The mosquito-borne disease has been identified by the World Health Organization as a congenital epidemic of international concern, yet one seldom hears about it in the international media. That’s a far cry from the lead-up to the Games, when a steady parade of Zika headlines sparked near-hysteria. Read more about The Buzz About the Zika Virus »

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

What Cal Experts Are Saying About the Paris Climate Accord Exit

Today, standing amongst the vibrant natural beauty of the White House Rose Garden, Trump said America will be “getting out” of the Paris Accord, an agreement among 195 countries to gradually reduce climate change to protect nature. Feeling the heat of this decision, UC Berkeley professors take to the Internet to explain what “getting out” of the agreement will get us into. Read more about What Cal Experts Are Saying About the Paris Climate Accord Exit »

Racism Might Be Bad for Your Heart Whether You’re Black Or White

Racism hurts the heart. Both black and white residents of counties where whites reported more racist attitudes were more likely to die from heart disease than those in areas with lower racial bias, according to a recent study from Berkeley psychology researchers. The relationship between whites’ racial bias and death rates was more pronounced for blacks, according to the study, which appeared in the journal Psychological Science last fall. Read more about Racism Might Be Bad for Your Heart Whether You're Black Or White »

Tesla Is Breaking Records Galore. But Is the Eco Hype Overblown?

One of the best ways to flaunt your Earth-hugging bona fides these days is to buy an electric car. It shows you’re willing to put your money—a lot of your money—where your mouth is, assuming your mouth spends a fair amount of time declaiming on global warming, atmospheric carbon emissions, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, and the sinister intentions of the global hydrocarbon extraction cabal. Buying a Tesla demonstrates you’re doing your part to keep our planet cool and green. Read more about Tesla Is Breaking Records Galore. But Is the Eco Hype Overblown? »

Gov Data Is Being Deleted: Shouldn’t There Be Laws for That?

After President Donald Trump’s inauguration, information was altered and links up and died on government websites. In response, citizen programmers, scientists and activists met up at UC Berkeley for Data Rescue SF, an event created to preserve publicly accessible data, specifically from NASA Earth Sciences and the Department of Energy National Labs. Read more about Gov Data Is Being Deleted: Shouldn't There Be Laws for That? »

Berkeley Engineers Catch Waves for Clean Energy

If you’ve ever been knocked over by a breaking wave, you’ve felt the ocean’s power, but did you ever imagine it could be turned into electricity?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), waves, tidal currents, and thermal gradients along American coastlines could potentially generate some 2,640 terawatt-hours (TWh) a year. That’s more than half the total U.S. production—enough to power as many as 200 million American households—emissions free. Read more about Berkeley Engineers Catch Waves for Clean Energy »

From the Spring 2017 Virtue and Vice issue of California.

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