Posted on February 20, 2019 - 10:59am
Science + Health
Stu Smith and his brother, Charlie, put down a $500 option on about 200 acres of land on the slopes of Spring Mountain in 1971, eventually purchasing the property for $70,000. The views of the adjacent Napa Valley were stunning, and Smith, who had developed a passion for wine while completing his undergraduate degree in economics at Berkeley, was determined to get into the nascent California premium wine business.
Posted on February 20, 2019 - 10:57am
A long-debated water plan that could change the course—literally—of water in California, will be up for a vote by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) next month. Originally scheduled for November, the vote has been postponed until December 11, per California Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newson’s request.
Posted on February 20, 2019 - 10:56am
As the natural world unravels, conservationists are looking for new solutions to save what’s left.
Big conservation initiatives take big bucks, but there’s only so much money to go around. So, how do we allocate? And once priorities are determined, how do we identify the most effective approaches?
One possibility: Big Data. It’s now poised to do for conservation what it has done for self-driving cars and online retail, says Carl Boettiger, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley.
Posted on February 1, 2019 - 5:24am
It started with a conversation. About two years ago, Claudia von Vacano, executive director of UC Berkeley’s social science D-Lab, had a chat with Brittan Heller, the then-director of technology and society for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The topic: the harassment of Jewish journalists on Twitter. Heller wanted to kick the offending trolls off the platform, and Vacano, an expert in digital research, learning, and language acquisition, wanted to develop the tools to do it. Both understood that neither humans nor computers alone were sufficient to root out the offending language.
Posted on December 18, 2018 - 6:04pm
This fall, the Seismology Lab at UC Berkeley launched ShakeAlert 2.0, California’s first earthquake early warning (EEW) system. It employs a West Coast–wide network of sensors to detect the quakes before they hit, in hopes of spreading the word as far and wide as possible.
Eureka! The Diving Bell and the Bullet Wound
On August 4, 1919, Berkeley chemist Joel H. Hildebrand (above, right) was shot and wounded by a lab assistant who accused the professor of opposing his application for appointment. Hildebrand survived—fortunately for the Navy. Twenty years later, in 1939, his work on the properties of gasses being dissolved into liquids saved the lives of 33 members of the USS Squalus when their submarine sank.
You’ve been working on ethnography and space. What are some examples of other cultures’ uses of space that we could learn from?
So you’re in Vegas at the penny slots, and you promise yourself you’ll only play a dollar. That’s it! No more. Just enough to have the Vegas experience. If you win, you may regret not wagering a ten-spot to get a bigger jackpot. If you lose, you’ll probably regret sitting at the machine at all. But no matter what, you’re gonna be thinking: “Shoulda coulda woulda.” Or at least, that’s what recent findings out of Berkeley indicate.
With the sun obscured by a jaundiced haze and the eyes of passersby barely visible above their smoke masks, there’s a general sense of apocalyptic doom hovering over California. It’s no wonder people are making Blade Runner references.
Posted on November 19, 2018 - 6:05pm
A week after the eruption of the Camp Fire near the town of Paradise, California, 142,000 acres have burned, setting state records for wildfire destruction.
Despite the hundreds still missing and worsening air quality in much of the state, there has been significant progress in battling the flames. As of this writing, according to Cal Fire officials, the Butte County blaze is now 45 percent contained, with full containment expected by November 30.
Posted on November 19, 2018 - 9:20am
Tens of thousands of Californians have evacuated as massive fires, driven by intense winds, rage in both Northern and Southern California. The Camp Fire in Butte County, which destroyed the town of Paradise, grew to 70,000 acres overnight. It sent up a pall of smoke that has triggered air quality advisories across a large swath of the northern part of the state, including the Bay Area. In the South, two fires—the Hill and Woolsey fires—are being fanned by Santa Ana Winds and have forced some 75,000 homes to be evacuated in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.
Posted on November 9, 2018 - 12:51pm
Beneath Irwin Reyes’s desk are ten smartphones hooked up to a computer, running a dizzying number of apps to find out what user information those apps send back to their creators.
Cobalt has been valued for centuries for the deep blue color it imparts to ceramic glazes and glass. Its current value has little to do with such stuff, however. Cobalt is sought today because it’s a critical element in lithium ion batteries, the devices that power our cell phones, computers, and electric vehicles.
Posted on October 26, 2018 - 10:37am
Research out of UC Berkeley shows that animals around the world are becoming more nocturnal in response to human populations.
The study, published in the journal Science in June, found that mammals have, on average, become 1.36 times more active at night. In other words, a creature that normally would have split its activities equally between day and night, now carries out 68 percent of its activities at night, presumably in avoidance of humans.