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The Top 10 Insights from the “Science of a Meaningful Life” in 2014

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | January 3, 2015

It’s time once again for our favorite year-end ritual here at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center: Our annual list of the top scientific insights produced by the study of happiness, altruism, mindfulness, gratitude–what we call “the science of a meaningful life.” We found that this year, the science of a meaningful life yielded many … Continue reading »

Thanksgiving Greatest Hits

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | November 26, 2014

Three years ago, the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center launched the Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude program, which supported 29 research projects and yielded dozens of articles and videos on the science of gratitude. As Thanksgiving 2014 approaches, we thought we’d take the time to highlight some of the best and most … Continue reading »

Flying blind(ly) into the future

Gene Rochlin, professor emeritus, Energy & Resources Group | October 28, 2014

The European airliner manufacturer, Airbus Industrie, recently took out a patent for an airliner design without the usual cockpit up front. Instead, the nose of the airplane would be more streamlined, to reduce air resistance, and the windows removed to save weight. According to the company, this would result in significant fuel savings. The flight … Continue reading »

Why is an iPod like a Model T Ford?

Gene Rochlin, professor emeritus, Energy & Resources Group | October 3, 2014

As I mentioned in my previous blog (Beware of Geeks bearing Grifts), Apple seems to have greatly reduced its online support for the iPod. Several online bloggers have suggested that, in retrospect, the purpose of the iPod was not only to capture the earphone-music market, and to promote the development and growth of iTunes. It … Continue reading »

Beware of Geeks Bearing Grifts

Gene Rochlin, professor emeritus, Energy & Resources Group | September 18, 2014

It seems as if the news media have become a wholly owned subsidiary of the internet technology complex (ITC) these days. No matter which seemingly outrageous new product or system is being put forth, it will become ‘news’ in print and online, unpaid advertising that assumes that all of us have little else to do … Continue reading »

Preparing for Univision: Bringing science education to Spanish speakers

Ana Aceves, former undergraduate, astrophysics and media studies | September 3, 2014

For 10 weeks this summer, I was living my career dream. I was scripting and producing science videos for Univision Noticias, a Spanish news network. For the past 40 years, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has organized the Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellowship. It sends students to news sites around … Continue reading »

Flying blind(ly) into the future

Gene Rochlin, professor emeritus, Energy & Resources Group | August 14, 2014

The European airliner manufacturer Airbus Industrie recently took out a patent for an airliner design without the usual cockpit up front.  Instead, the nose of the airplane would be more streamlined, to reduce air resistance, and the windows removed to save weight.  According to the company, this would result in significant fuel savings.  The flight … Continue reading »

Hail and farewell to a legendary Cal grad

David Presti, teaching professor of neurobiology | June 9, 2014

Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, renowned graduate of UC Berkeley, died on June 2, 2014, a few days short of his 89th birthday. Shulgin was born in Berkeley on June 17, 1925. Both his parents were teachers. He received his bachelor’s degree (1949) and his doctorate in biochemistry (1955) from UC Berkeley. Except for some time spent … Continue reading »

When product features disappear – Amazon, Apple, Tesla and the troubled future for 21st century consumers

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 21, 2013

One of the great innovations of the 21st century are products that are cloud-connected and update and improve automatically. For software, gone are the days of having to buy a new version of physical media (disks or CD’s.) For hardware it’s the magical ability to have a product get better over time as new features are automatically added. … Continue reading »

The Eight Commandments to building a bad research center

David Patterson, professor of computer science | November 15, 2013

After being involved in a dozen centers over nearly 40 years at UC Berkeley, I decided to capture my advice on building and running research centers. Following the precedent of my past efforts at “How to Give a Bad Talk” and “How to Have a Bad Career,” I wrote a short technical report entitled “How to Build a … Continue reading »

Cell phone science

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | November 5, 2013

My attention was recently drawn to the topic of cell phones and not just because … hold on a sec … um, no messages … of the phone sitting next to my keyboard, but because I was reading two books … wait, what’s the ball score? … No change … where was I? …. oh, … Continue reading »

Beyond cuddling: Five surprising ways Oxytocin shapes your social life

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | October 18, 2013

It’s been called the cuddle hormone, the holiday hormone, the moral molecule, and more—but new research suggests that oxytocin needs some new nicknames. Like maybe the conformity hormone, or perhaps the America-Number-One! molecule. Where does this many-monikered neuropeptide come from? Scientists first found it in mothers, whose bodies flood with oxytocin during childbirth and breastfeeding—which … Continue reading »

Open access is not the problem – my take on Science’s peer review “sting”

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | October 4, 2013

In 2011, after having read several really bad papers in the journal Science, I decided to explore just how slipshod their peer-review process is. I knew that their business depends on publishing “sexy” papers. So I created a manuscript that claimed something extraordinary – that I’d discovered a species of bacteria that uses arsenic in its DNA … Continue reading »

Why fund studies of Maya architecture instead of saving lives?

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | October 1, 2013

That is the question two members of the current US House of Representatives pose in an opinion piece in USA Today, writing: Congress is right to ask why NSF chooses to fund research on Mayan architecture over projects that could help our wounded warriors or save lives. As an archaeologist specializing in Maya archaeology, who … Continue reading »

With its HeLa genome agreement, NIH embraces an expansive definition of familial consent in genetics

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | August 26, 2013

I wrote before about the controversy involving the release earlier this year of a genome sequence of the HeLa cell line, which was taken without consent from Henrietta Lacks as she lay dying of ovarian cancer in 1950s Baltimore. Now, the NIH has announced an agreement with Lacks’ descendants to obtain their consent for access … Continue reading »