UC Berkeley

Bed Bugs, in Berkeley? How a Code of Silence and the “Ick” Factor Worsen the Problem

When Vernard Lewis first joined UC Berkeley’s resident faculty of pest researchers in 1990, he says he was “lucky” to receive one bedbug complaint per year. By that same measure of good fortune (which, even coming from an entomologist, is a weird one), these days, Lewis is positively blessed.

“Now I get them every week,” he says. Like inbox-clogging clockwork, they pour in, one urgent plea after another. There are requests to diagnose a suspicious new bug bite, to conduct an in-person home inspection, to examine “ten 15 megapixel images, all out of focus.”

Tweaking Toxic Avengers: California Questions the Consequences of Prop. 65

Way back in 1986—when it was still Morning in America and women wore padded shoulders and men slathered on so much hair gel their coiffures looked molded in aspic—a citizen referendum passed in California that foreshadowed the current Era of Open Data. Ever since, Proposition 65 has required companies with more than 10 employees to post notices about carcinogenic compounds found on site, and granted private citizen the right to sue businesses that don’t prominently display the requisite warnings.

Feeding Forward: Giving Us the Power to Fight Hunger From Our Phones

Time has borne out the veracity of the Biblical observation that poor will always be with us—and so, too, are well-meaning efforts to feed the famished. But success in getting food to the hungry has been spotty at best. Now, a group of idealistic Cal students is bringing high tech to bear on the problem, producing an approach that is propagating across the country.

Research Showed Earth-like Planets Could Top 40 Billion—So Where Is Everybody?

When Berkeley graduate student Erik Petigura and fellow researchers released analyses of Kepler spacecraft data late last year, it made headlines around the world. No surprise there: The findings led to the conclusion that the number of inhabitable Earth-like planets in the galaxy could top 40 billion. The Milky Way seemed somehow transformed from a cold and glittering panoply of massive fusion reactors churning in the void into something cozier—a kind of galactic farm pond, teeming with the ET-equivalent of rotifers and ciliates.

Funny Valentine: Cal alum’s latest labor of love offers a satiric salute to Oakland

Oakland is a city of fascinating, bewildering, and uncomfortably stark contrasts. On the one hand, news coverage about it is often exclusively focused on violence and homicide. On the other, it’s increasingly being applauded as a burgeoning food and art Mecca. The reality is, Oakland is both of those places—and so, so much more.

Fit After the Holidays? You Can’t Hide—But You Can Run

It turns out the secret to health and longevity isn’t that complicated: Run if you can, walk if you can’t. Also more is better than less, and faster is better than slower. Those are the ineluctable conclusions of the world’s longest-running study on the health benefits of running and walking—a tracking of 160,000 runners and walkers that is also debunking some conventional wisdom about fitness.

Finals With Fido: Therapy Pups Visit Cal to Soothe Students’ Stress

Clusters of Cal students burst into cheers outside Moffitt Library on Tuesday as they watched a fluffy blonde terrier perform “high-five” tricks and a bulldog roll over, her tongue—and belly—sticking out. For a few minutes, at least, the frenzy of finals had dissipated.

Said senior Emiko Minatoya-Shields: “I’m pretty sure you could just sob into their necks if you had just failed something.”

Wrangling Big Data

Imagine a website that could offer you personalized medical advice. You could log on and input your symptoms and medical history. The program would then compare your situation to that of other people with a similar condition, perhaps analyze your genotype, consult with a few hundred doctors as necessary, and then provide you with a diagnosis and treatment recommendation.

From the Winter 2013 Information Issue issue of California.

Tough Stance: A Q&A With the Authors Who Say Cal Athletics Should Learn from Stanford

All hell was breaking loose over UC Berkeley’s abysmal graduation rates for football and men’s basketball players as California magazine was doing final edits on the Winter 2013 issue. That magazine was to include an in-depth interview with the authors of a paper on the Cal Athletics program, which, in singling out graduation rates and the commercialization of sports on campus, helped spark the recent controversy.


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