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Societal advances depend on basic science and new technologies

Robert Birgeneau, professor of physics, former chancellor | July 9, 2013

Near the end of World War II, in a study entitled “The Endless Frontier,” Vannevar Bush, the true progenitor of the modern research and teaching university, stated that “new products and new processes do not appear full-grown. They are founded on new principles and new conceptions which in turn are painstakingly developed by research in … Continue reading »

A CHORUS of boos: publishers offer their ‘solution’ to public access

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | June 6, 2013

As expected, a coalition of subscription based journal publishers has responded to the White House’s mandate that federal agencies develop systems to make the research they fund available to public by offering to implement the system themselves. This system, which they call CHORUS (for ClearingHouse for the Open Research of the United Status) would set up … Continue reading »

The crowd and the mob: opportunities and cautions for constant video surveillance

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | May 29, 2013

Recent events in Boston highlight both the potential and hazards of ever-present cameras. In the hours following the April 15 bombing, law enforcement agencies called upon commercial businesses and the public to submit relevant footage from surveillance cameras and mobile devices. While the tsunami of crowd-sourced data threatened to overwhelm servers and analysts, it provided … Continue reading »

Is Google reading your bMail?

Chris Hoofnagle, adjunct professor of information | May 20, 2013

Both users of bMail and the campus itself have never received a clear answer to a simple question: Is Google subjecting data in Google Apps for Education to data analysis or mining for purposes unnecessary for technical rendition of service? A recently-filed lawsuit suggests that Google is indeed applying analysis to our messages, but masking … Continue reading »

Guns and cyber security

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | May 13, 2013

The online world can be a dangerous place for the unprepared.  And it’s just going to get worse. It’s time to teach cyber security as integral part of the high school and college curriculum and to all corporate employees. — I grew up in New York City and for a few years heaven on earth … Continue reading »

Door-to-door subscription scams: the dark side of The New York Times

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | April 16, 2013

An article appeared on the front page of the Sunday New York Times purporting to expose a “parallel world of pseudo-academia, complete with prestigiously titled conferences and journals that sponsor them”. The story describes the experience of some unnamed scientists who accepted an email invitation to a conference, which then charged them for participating, and … Continue reading »

The past, present and future of scholarly publishing

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | April 11, 2013

I gave a talk recently at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco about science publishing and PLoS. For the first time in my life, I actually gave the talk (largely) from prepared remarks, so I thought I’d post it here. (An audio recording of the talk with Q&A is available here.) —— On January 6, … Continue reading »

Open access explained

Anna Goldstein, former grad student, chemistry | April 8, 2013

The conversation about scientific publishing has exploded lately, online, in print and in person. In March, the journal Nature released a special issue called The future of publishing. Also in March, Michael Eisen (molecular and cell biology professor and HHMI investigator at UC Berkeley, and co-founder of PLoS) posted a speech he gave on the … Continue reading »

Love: What’s the point?

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | February 14, 2013

“Valentine’s Day is a commercial sham!” said one friend. “Valentine’s Day propaganda is everywhere!” said another. “Heterosexist!” cried a commentator on our Facebook page. Lots of people hate Valentine’s Day. For some very good reasons: It is commercial; it is heterosexist; it does make involuntary singles weep into their beers. But we at the UC … Continue reading »

Four ways to boost gratitude on Valentine’s Day

Amie Gordon, former grad student, psychology |

Whether February 14th is your first Valentine’s Day together or your 35th, it’s a great excuse to show gratitude for the one you love. Today’s post is the second in a two-part series on Gratitude. Yesterday I discussed research I’ve done on how gratitude helps us hold onto our relationships. Today I give you a … Continue reading »

My father, Aaron Swartz, and assigning blame for suicide

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | February 12, 2013

Twenty-six years ago, on February 7th, 1987, my father killed himself, and this day is always a complicated one for me. It is something I have never talked or written about in public. But I am moved to say something this year because of the suicide of Aaron Swartz. My brother had the same reaction, and wrote … Continue reading »

How love grows in your body

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | February 8, 2013

“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,” wrote William Shakespeare in his 116th Sonnet. “O no! it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.” Nothing could be further from the truth, says the new science of romantic love. Love is, first and foremost, an emotion—but one that … Continue reading »

Data visualization: New tools for illustration, insight and inspiration

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | January 22, 2013

The emerging field of “data visualization” brings together quantitative information with technology and graphic design to tell stories and convey ideas. As data about our environment, travel, work, online activities and other behavior increases exponentially, visualization tools can help discern the forest from the trees of rows and columns, in order to understand trends and … Continue reading »

Darwin’s ‘tangled bank’ in verse

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | December 12, 2012

My daughter has to memorize a poem for a school performance, and asked me if I knew a good poem about nature. There are, of course, many good ones, but I really wanted her to have the most poetic thing ever written about nature — the last paragraph of Darwin’s Origin of Species — rendered … Continue reading »

Human Rights Day: How social video changes the game for advocacy and accountability

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | December 4, 2012

December 10 marks Human Rights Day, commemorating the U.N.’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Durable protection of human rights requires institutional frameworks and the rule of law. But with the rise of social media — together with cameras now standard in mobile devices — citizens are gaining tools to bring … Continue reading »

Why we need gratitude research

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | November 21, 2012

“It’s a good thing to be grateful,” writes Steven E.F. Brown in the San Francisco Business Times. “But is there any ‘science of gratitude’? Well, the University of California, Berkeley, has a Greater Good Science Center — are you really that surprised? — and it’s spending $3.1 million on a project to study just that.” … Continue reading »

Two hurricanes and two networks

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy hit close to home. Not where I live, mind you; but where my heart is, with my family. As the hours went by, I waited for updates from my brothers, my nephews, all in the path of the storm. My many friends and family members living in New Jersey or New York City … Continue reading »

Prop 37 and the right to know nothing

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | October 26, 2012

As we approach election day, my neighborhood in Berkeley has sprouted dozens of blue and orange yard signs supporting Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of genetically modified foods. The “Right to Know” has become the rallying cry of the initiative’s backers, who meet any criticism of the initiative, its motivation or of the … Continue reading »