Have you ever been engrossed in your favorite episode of Star Trek on your smartphone and thought “Hey! The color of Kirk’s uniform doesn’t look pure!” Yeah, most of us probably wouldn’t think that. But with quantum dots seeping into modern displays, our viewing expectations could drastically change. Read more about Quantum Dots Promise Better-Than-Ever Digital Color Resolution—Will it Matter? »
Science + Health
In January, David Broockman, then a political science Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley, found something unusual about a study he and fellow student Joshua Kalla were trying to replicate. The data in the original study, collected by UCLA grad student Michael LaCour and published in Science last December, had shown that gay canvassers, sent door-to-door in California neighborhoods, could, after a brief conversation about marriage equality in which the canvassers disclosed their own sexual orientation, have a lasting impact on voter attitudes on the subject. Read more about Giving Credence: Why is So Much Reported Science Wrong, and What Can Fix That? »
Think people know when you’re being sarcastic? Yeah, right.
Studies show that most of us believe we are much better at communicating than we actually are, especially when interacting online. For instance, a 2005 study found that recipients correctly identified the sarcasm behind email statements only 56 percent of the time. Furthermore, the participants remained confident they were being understood even when their actual ability to convey sarcasm varied significantly between email and verbal communication. Read more about Say What? Scientists Devise an Algorithm That Detects Sarcasm Better Than Humans Can »
For decades, most of the strategizing about how to slow down climate change has focused on cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, mainly by shifting away from fossil fuels. Other proposals range from reducing meat consumption (cattle belch massive quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas) to curtailment of chlorofluorocarbons (compounds that both retain heat and destroy atmospheric ozone) in refrigerants and aerosols. Read more about Strip It and Stash It: Climate Scientists Focus on Extracting the Carbon Already in Our Air »
Posted on December 9, 2015 - 9:55am
As the 2015 U.N. climate change conference continues in the outskirts of Paris—pursuing a global agreement to slow down the devastating effects of global warming—there will be graphs. There will be charts. There will be slideshows.
But if presenters really want to tug at a world leader’s heartstrings, they might want to bring a violin. Break out a synthesizer, a keyboard, and play a snippet of what climate change sounds like: Earth, out of tune and distorted, an orchestra gone a little haywire. Read more about Setting Misery to Music: Collaboration Lets Listeners "Hear" Effects of Climate Change »
Posted on December 4, 2015 - 11:06am
With perhaps one of the most intense El Niño ever recorded simmering like a massive coddled egg off the coast, Californians are bracing for precipitation on an epic scale. More than that: They’re hoping for it. There is a general sense that even the rampaging floods that can result from a full-blown El Niño-driven winter would be tolerable as long as our reservoirs fill and aquifers recharge and we can get back to long showers and adequately watered hydrangeas. Read more about Is This El Niño Really Set to Bring Epic Precipitation? Be Careful What You Wish For... »
Posted on November 30, 2015 - 7:42am
Years ago, I never thought to myself, ‘Hey, I’ve gotta be the guy who writes about chronic fatigue syndrome.’ I mean, why would I? It just sort of happened. When research suggested in 2010 that the illness might be linked to a mouse retrovirus, I wrote a piece about it for The New York Times.
After that I wrote another story, and then more stories, and then a few more—probably a dozen or so in all. But within a couple of years the mouse retrovirus hypothesis fell apart. And media interest in the illness vanished. Read more about Reporter Excoriates Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study: I Stopped at 14,000 Words-Enough Was Enough »
Posted on November 18, 2015 - 4:14pm
I had to see for myself why some users have called them “happy glasses”—through them, everything looks more vibrant, distinct and intense. As soon as I donned the glasses, the run-down street I was walking on in West Berkeley looked as if it suddenly had been given a fresh coat of paint, the grays dusted away. I felt as if I was inside an oversaturated Instagram photo, or Pleasantville after the town was colored in.
The color shift I experienced while wearing EnChroma Cx lenses was overdramatic—but that’s because I’m not colorblind. Read more about Color My World: Innovative Glasses Allow Colorblind to See What They've Been Missing »
Posted on November 17, 2015 - 2:40pm
The recent rains have blunted the psychological impact of California’s four-year drought, washing down the streets, perking up the landscaping, and heightening anticipation for a stormy El Nino-driven winter. We know, however, that one wet year is highly unlikely to end water shortages. What we may not fully grasp is that the damage done to the state’s forests is so far reaching that it may be permanent. Read more about Fried to a Crisp: Why Some Experts Say We Must Burn the Trees to Save the Forests »
Posted on November 12, 2015 - 10:31am
Americans have not only embraced the Shultz dictum that happiness is a warm puppy: They’re applying it to warm rabbits, kangaroo rats, pot-bellied pigs, cockatiels and ferrets. And for that matter, to decidedly tepid ball pythons, Cuban rock iguanas and Chilean rose hair tarantulas. The issue here isn’t the type of beastie; it’s that animals equate to happiness, whether you’re at home, in the workplace, or in the stressful milieu that is the modern academy. An increasing number of students believe they benefit from having pets for emotional support or comfort. Read more about Pet Therapy: Students Increasingly Bringing "Emotional Support" Animals to College »
Posted on November 10, 2015 - 1:18pm
We’ve tried countless ways to cure our national obesity epidemic—from the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” evangelism to invasive bariatric surgery. The latest potential strategy to help people lose excess weight: fat implants. Read more about Counterintuitive Cure? Cal Researchers Aim to Reduce Obesity—With Fat Implants »
Posted on November 5, 2015 - 11:48am
After Berkeley became the first city in the nation to pass an excise soda tax one year ago, opponents dismissed Berkeley as such an outlier that the victory was inconsequential. “Berkeley is not necessarily the trendsetter that they claim to be,” Roger Salazar, spokesman for the No Berkeley Beverage Tax campaign, was quoted saying. “They are a nuclear-free zone. They give free pot to low-income folks. Berkeley is Berkeley.” Read more about Carbonated Clash: A New Book Predicts Berkeley's Soda Tax Will Spread Elsewhere »
Posted on November 3, 2015 - 12:56pm
Passwords and humans are frenemies: We tolerate each other because we have to, but we seem to know that one will screw the other over sooner or later (as evidenced by the many security breaches of 2015). Managing our password portfolio is more maddening than ever, given that more than half of us have five or more unique passwords, and nearly a third of us have more than 10. Read more about So Long, Passwords: What Will it Take for Us To Entrust Our Security to Biometrics? »
Posted on October 28, 2015 - 12:58pm
It’s affirmed in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence as an unalienable right: the pursuit of happiness. No wonder that Americans hold happiness in high regard; it’s practically a birthright. Read more about Pursuit of Happiness: We're Not Trying Too Hard—We're Just Not Trying the Right Things »
Posted on October 21, 2015 - 6:40pm
As Pope Francis ended his widely hailed U.S. visit yesterday and flew home, he left behind at least one disappointed American: UC Berkeley professor of public health Malcolm Potts. Read more about The Pope and The Pill: Why Berkeley Health Professor Sees Visit as a Missed Moment »
Posted on September 28, 2015 - 4:33pm