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Don’t be so scared of Medicare for All

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | November 22, 2019

Republicans and even some Democrats are out to scare you about Medicare for All. They say it’s going to dismantle health care as we know it and it will cost way too much. Rubbish. The typical American family now spends $6,000 on health insurance premiums each year. Add in the co-payments and deductibles that doctors, … Continue reading »

The passing of a giant in the exploration of psychedelics and consciousness

David Presti, teaching professor of neurobiology | April 14, 2019

Psychedelic medicines have become, over the last several years, an increasingly prominent topic of discussion. Scientific publications, essays, books, and stories in the news media describe human clinical studies investigating the efficacy of psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, ketamine, and other substances to treat anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction. Controlled studies have demonstrated the capacity … Continue reading »


Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | March 21, 2019

The Economist has broken the taboo on the word we all know but are not supposed to print – and even the Economist had to use two asterisks.  Referring to Brexit, on March 19th one and half million copies of the Economist had a picture of a disheveled Britannia screaming “Oh **UK. Whatever next.” Sex is a powerful emotion … Continue reading »

Medical students advocate for Medicare for All

Scott Swartz, sjswartz | March 8, 2019

This post was written by and on behalf of the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program chapter of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP), which advocates for the adoption of a single-payer, universal health system in the United States. At the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program (JMP), our instructors implore us to examine the social … Continue reading »

On the contributions of mentors and role models

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | February 5, 2019

Last week, I learned that I was awarded the Wolf Prize in Agriculture. I wondered what had enabled a kid that grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Jerusalem to receive this award from the Israeli president. Of course, there are the usual suspects – loving and supportive parents and family, excellent primary and secondary … Continue reading »

Don’t beat yourself up — be kind to yourself

Serena Chen, psychology professor | August 21, 2018

When people experience a setback at work—whether it’s a bad sales quarter, being overlooked for a promotion, or an interpersonal conflict with a colleague—it’s common to respond in one of two ways. Either we become defensive and blame others, or we berate ourselves. Unfortunately, neither response is especially helpful. Shirking responsibility by getting defensive may … Continue reading »

Lifelong learning and active brains: Let’s get started!

Arthur Shimamura, professor emeritus, psychology and neuroscience | August 13, 2018

With the luxury of smartphones, binge TV watching and internet shopping, it has become exceedingly easy to live in comfortable laziness. Yet we all realize that both physical and mental activity are essential for successful aging and healthy brains. We’ve all heard the saying, use it or lose it, but we are rarely given advice … Continue reading »

Illusions of control

Don Moore, professor, Haas School of Business | July 19, 2018

Most elevators have some form of a “close door” button. Impatient elevator riders the world over push that button when they want the elevator to get moving. Unbeknownst to them, their button-pushing efforts are useless. The vast majority of building managers and elevator programmers think they know when the doors should close, and have deactivated … Continue reading »

The Irish family planning tragic comedy

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | May 26, 2018

As has been widely reported this week, people flew to Dublin from as far away as Brazil to vote in Friday’s referendum on abortion. In 1983 the Constitution had been amended to give a fertilized egg the same right to life as the woman carrying the embryo. Today (Saturday) the majority of constituencies have reported … Continue reading »

Facebook and the humanities: Pondering what would Oedipus do

Timothy Hampton, professor of French and comparative literature, director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities | March 21, 2018

No less disturbing than the recent news that the personal data of millions of Americans was culled from Facebook by the shady research firm Cambridge Analytica and provided to the Trump campaign, has been the behavior of the masters of Silicon Valley.  The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has so far been mostly silent. This … Continue reading »


Don Moore, professor, Haas School of Business | January 22, 2018

Overconfidence is the mother of all psychological biases. I mean that in two ways. First, overconfidence is one of the largest and most ubiquitous of the many biases to which human judgment is vulnerable. For example, 93 percent of American drivers claim to be better than the median,[1] which is statistically impossible.[2] Another way in … Continue reading »

Study: Mom’s pot use doesn’t hurt kids’ future grades?

Tomás Aragón, Clinical Faculty, School of Public Health | November 26, 2017

For the last several weekends I saw the following advertisement (disclaimer: I am a lifelong subscriber and avid supporter of our local newspaper — the San Francisco Chronicle): Of course, being the father of three children, the lower right corner caught my attention: “Study: Mom’s pot use doesn’t hurt kids’ future grades—Fears of maternal cannabis … Continue reading »

Sex, power and the systems that enable men like Harvey Weinstein

Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology | October 17, 2017

When I first heard accounts of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior, my mind devised punishments fitting for Renaissance Europe or the film A Clockwork Orange: Cover his face with a shame mask widely used centuries ago in Germany; shock his frontal lobes so that he’d start empathizing with the women he’s preyed on. When we learn … Continue reading »

Stopping college football is a moral imperative

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | September 25, 2017

The University of California, Berkeley must stop systematically and irrevocably damaging the human brain. It is unethical. Cal should cease supporting American football. Earlier this year we learned that 110 out of 111 former American football players had evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Early last week we learned that young boys playing American football … Continue reading »

The false media focus on violence: If it bleeds it still leads

Jen Schradie, research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse | September 7, 2017

On Sunday, August 27, in downtown Berkeley, I witnessed thousands of protesters raising their voices against a planned white supremacist “Patriot Prayer” rally. In my decades as a documentary filmmaker of activism and now an academic studying movements and media, it was one of the most positive, diverse and unifying gatherings I ever experienced. While … Continue reading »

Senate Republicans’ health bill especially hurts the lowest-income Californians

Laurel Lucia, Labor Center Health Care Program director | June 22, 2017

Co-authored by Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center The health bill released by Senate Republicans today would be devastating to low-income Californians and their access to health coverage. While the proposed Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, is largely similar to the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House … Continue reading »