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Climate change is a pressing and urgent global issue and a challenge that needs planet- and human-focused solutions. The state has signed into law numerous policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emission from buildings, industrial processes, vehicles, agricultural and solid waste management, electric power and fossil fuel production and freight transport. Those policies are continuously evolving to reflect change in technology, markets and public opinion. UC Berkeley and the UC system have pledged to be carbon neutral from building and fleet energy use by 2025, and from transportation and other sources by 2050.Kira Stoll, the director of sustainability at UC Berkeley, and David Wooley, a visiting professor at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy and executive director of the Center for Environmental Public Policy, gave a talk on May 1, 2019, about what is underway in green building, energy efficiency, clean electricity, resource management and behavior-based programs, and how these can help meet these ambitious but achievable goals.This lecture is part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).Listen and read a transcript on Berkeley News.
Drawing from his first-hand experience at Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, a traditional healing center near Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon, Dr. Joe Tafur reviews the role of spiritual and emotional healing in modern healthcare.Tafur gave a talk on April 18, 2019, for the Lounge Lecture Series at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, alongside the new exhibit, Pleasure, Poison, Prescription and Prayer: The Worlds of Mind-Altering Substances, which runs March 15 to Dec. 15.In this talk, Tafur discusses how emotional trauma contributes to medical illness, and how spiritual healing techniques can lead to improvements in the mind and body. Ayahuasca shamanism and other psychedelic-assisted therapies may be effective, in some cases, because of their ability to induce relevant changes in epigenetic imprints associated with emotional trauma stored in the psychoneuroendocrine immunologic network, which Tafur theorizes is the physiologic manifestation of the emotional body.Dr. Joe Tafur is a Colombian American family physician originally from Phoenix, Arizona. After completing his family medicine training at UCLA, Tafur spent two years in academic research at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry in a lab focused on mind-body medicine. After his research fellowship, over a period of six years, he lived and worked in the Peruvian Amazon at the traditional healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. There he worked closely with master Shipibo shaman Ricardo Amaringo and trained in ayahuasca shamanism.In his new book, The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine, Tafur shares his unique experience and integrative medical theories. He is now focused on his work with the nonprofit Modern Spirit and the Modern Spirit Epigenetics Project.For upcoming events, visit the Heart Museum of Anthropology’s website.Read a transcript and listen on Berkeley News.
The last eight years have seen a revolution in approved cancer treatments, based on the development of medicines that arouse our immune systems to attack and eliminate our own cancer cells. These breakthroughs in immunotherapy of cancer were based on a deep understanding of the immune system itself, coupled with the first direct evidence that immune responses that attack human cancers occur naturally, albeit weakly. The treatments amplify natural immune responses against cancer, and are effective in some types of cancer, leading to cures in many patients. They are less effective or not effective in many other types of cancer. The success has galvanized major new efforts by researchers and drug companies alike to develop complementary and more broadly effective medications to treat other types of cancer.David Raulet, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, gave a lecture on April 10, 2019, about the revolution of cancer immunology. In this talk, Raulet describes how these medicines work, their current limitations and the prospects for novel and more effective immunotherapy approaches, including those based on research in the his laboratory.This lecture is part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).Read a transcript on Berkeley News.
On Thursday, April 18, 2019, Cal Performances’ board of trustees co-chairs Helen Meyer and Susan Graham, and executive and artistic director Jeremy Geffen, announced the organization’s 2019-20 season, programmed by associate director Rob Bailis. Hear Bailis in conversation about the season with Cy Musiker, a KQED radio news reporter, anchor and recently retired host of KQED's weekly arts showThe Do List. Musiker is an alumnus of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.Cal Performances' 2019-20 season showcases an exhilarating and expansive breadth of dance productions, from grand to intimate in scale, featuring a broad range of international performance traditions and starring renowned companies from the US and abroad in Zellerbach Hall, widely considered the finest concert dance venue on the west coast; virtuoso soloists and conductors making their Cal Performances debuts; and immersion in key bodies of work by Beethoven, Bartók and Liszt.An interdisciplinary set of projects explores the artistic accomplishments of UC Berkeley faculty and alumni and Berkeley natives — with composers, scholars, writers, filmmakers and performers bringing new and recent work to campus. Dance and contemporary music ensembles perform Cal Performances co-commissioned work and the season concludes with a Hewlett 50 Arts Commission project staged in collaboration with lead commissioner Stanford Live. Artists and ensembles with meaningful, decades-long relationships with Cal Performances and Bay Area audiences return, and master performers from across the globe travel to Zellerbach Hall for presentations that revive and refresh traditional and contemporary music and dance practices.Read a transcript and see photos on Berkeley News.(Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater photo by Andrew Eccles) 
Brown v. Board of Education was hailed as a landmark decision for civil rights. But decades later, many consider school integration a failure. UC Berkeley professor Rucker C. Johnson's new book Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works shows the exact opposite is true. The book looks at decades of studies to show that students of all races who attended integrated schools fared better than those who did not. In this interview with Goldman School of Public Policy Dean Henry E. Brady, which took place on Jan. 9, 2019, Johnson explains how he and his team analyzed the impact of not just integration, but school funding policies and the Head Start program.This lecture was recorded by UCTV, the UC Public Policy Channel.The Goldman School of Public Policy, with the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans, also produces a podcast, “Talk Policy To Me.”Listen and read a transcript on Berkeley News.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is a pastor and social justice advocate building a broad-based grassroots movement, grounded in the moral tenets of faith-based communities and the constitution, to confront systemic racism, poverty, environmental devastation, the war economy and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism in America today.Barber delivered the closing keynote speech on April 10 at the 2019 Othering & Belonging conference, organized by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley. The Othering & Belonging conferences are dynamic and uniquely curated events that aim to elevate work nationally and globally in "othering and belonging," a critical lens developed by the Haas Institute under the leadership of john a. powell for defining structural exclusion and inclusion, and an analytical and applied framework which we can use to design and advance institutions, narratives and policies that support a more fully inclusive “we.”The 2019 conference highlighted models of bridging that give us examples of how to build and sustain a diverse, pluralistic society underpinned by a new, inclusive social compact where group-based difference and forms of identity — whether race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, among others — are not dehumanized nor are they subsumed, but instead are celebrated and included in our imagined and real community.Learn more about the Othering and Belonging conferences.Listen and read a transcript on Berkeley News.
Jennifer Doudna spoke at UC Berkeley's International House on Feb. 21, 2019, about the revolutionary gene-editing tool she co-invented, CRISPR-Cas9.Our technological capacity to make changes to genomic data has expanded exponentially since the 2012 discovery of CRISPR-Cas9 as an RNA-programmable genome editing tool. Over the past seven years, this genome editing platform has been used to revolutionize research, develop new agricultural crops and even promises to cure genetic diseases. However, ethical and societal concerns abound, requiring a thoughtful and ongoing discussion among scientists and stakeholder groups.Doudna is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley and is Li Ka Shing Chancellor's Professor in Biomedical and Health. She is a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2018, Doudna received a Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society.This talk was hosted by the Institute of International Studies, as part of its Endowed Elberg Series. It was recorded by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Watch the video here.Read the transcript on Berkeley News.
1.5 degrees Celsius. That's the maximum global temperature increase allowable before we see catastrophic impacts on food security, ecosystems, water access, frequency and extremity of weather events, according to a special 2018 report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report warns global leaders and policymakers that failing to limit the earth’s temperature increase will result in a world that is unrecognizable – and extremely difficult to live in.  Given the urgency and magnitude of climate change, what are individuals’ role in helping to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius? How do our lives and habits need to change? How does our responsibility, as residents of the wealthiest country in the world, compare to those living in poverty? And how does individual responsibility for carbon reduction interact with corporate and industrial responsibility? Does it matter that we recycle and buy local produce and use public transit when the U.S. continues to buy oil from Saudi Arabia and 85% of Americans drive to work?  To answer these questions, Talk Policy to Me reporter and Goldman MPP student Reem Rayef spoke with Chris Jones, one of the makers of the CoolClimate Calculator. It's an online interactive tool that calculates users’ carbon footprints (the amount of CO2 they emit per year) using information about their homes, consumption habits and lifestyles. The calculator then provides custom recommendations to users on how they might “green” their lifestyles — from buying an electric vehicle to eating a vegetarian diet.Through April, the campus is participating in the Cool Campus Challenge, designed to educate and motivate all nine UC campuses to take simple, energy-saving and waste-reducing actions to help the UC system reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. Students, staff and faculty are all invited to participate.Read a transcript of this episode on Berkeley News.Listen to more Talk Policy to Me episodes on the Goldman School of Public Policy’s website.
Amy Heineike is the vice president of product engineering at Primer AI. One area the company is active in is around news data and news cycles — they model the contrasting narratives that people are telling around global stories using millions of statistical observations about entities and their relationships. Another area that they’re active in is around Wikipedia — human-written summaries and maintaining these summaries is extremely time intensive and Primer AI has formulated approaches to creating and maintaining pages.For her talk, Heineike focuses on an idea that Primer AI had from the very beginning: How we think about humans and machines interacting with AI, how we understand the data and then, how we overcome the bias we discover.Heineike gave her lecture on March 8, 2019, during the annual Women in Technology symposium at UC Berkeley. The daylong event was sponsored by WITI@UC, a joint initiative of Berkeley Engineering and CITRIS and the Banatao Institute.Read the transcript on Berkeley News.
Ellen Ullman is a computer programmer, essayist on technology and culture and an author of four books — two nonfiction and two novels — on the human side of technology. Her most recent book, Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology, in 2007 was named by the San Francisco Chronicle among the best books of the year.Life in Code bookends her earlier work, in 1997, where that was named Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents, recounting life as a woman technologist amongst and almost exclusively male workforce at the start of the global digital revolution. Twenty years later, Ullman reflects on digital technology's loss of innocence and reckons with all that has changed and so much that hasn't.Dean of engineering Tsu-Jae King Liu spoke with Ullman on March 8, 2019, during the annual Women in Technology symposium at UC Berkeley. The daylong event was sponsored by WITI@UC, a joint initiative of Berkeley Engineering and CITRIS and the Banatao Institute.Read the transcript on Berkeley News.
For millennia, humans have cultivated deep relationships with psychoactive plants — relationships embedded within and guided by ritual frameworks honoring the powers of these plants as allies. As cultures have evolved, so also have these plant-human interactions, often in ways that are highly interdependent.David Presti, who teaches neurobiology, psychology and cognitive science at UC Berkeley, gave an opening talk March 21 for the Lounge Lecture Series at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, alongside the new exhibit, Pleasure, Poison, Prescription and Prayer: The Worlds of Mind-Altering Substances, which runs March 15 to Dec. 15.Presti has been on the faculty of Berkeley's Department of Molecular and Cell Biology for 28 years. He teaches classes on topics related to brain, mind, consciousness, neurochemistry and psychopharmacology. For more than a decade, he worked in the treatment of addiction and of post-traumatic stress disorder at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco. And for the past 15 years, he has been teaching neuroscience and conversing about science with Tibetan Buddhist monastics in India, Bhutan and Nepal. He is author of Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey (2016) and Mind Beyond Brain (2018).For upcoming events, visit the Heart Museum of Anthropology's website.Read the transcript on Berkeley News.
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages (2018) and Seam (2014). Faizullah has won a VIDA Award, a GLCA New Writers’ Award, a Milton Kessler First Book Award, Drake University Emerging Writer Award and other honors. Her poems have been published widely in periodicals and anthologies both in the United States and abroad, including Poetry Magazine, Guernica, Tin House and The Nation. They are translated into Persian, Chinese, Bengali, Tamil and Spanish, and have been featured at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art and elsewhere. In 2016, she was recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change. In Fall 2018, she joined the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a Visiting Writer in Residence.Faizullah read her poetry on March 7, 2019, at Lunch Poems, an ongoing poetry reading series at UC Berkeley that began in 2014. All readings happen from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month in Morrison Library in Doe Library. Admission is free.This talk was recorded by UC Berkeley’s Educational Technology Services. Watch the video.Read the transcript on Berkeley News.
Ashton Applewhite, named one of PBS Next Avenue’s Influencers in Aging and author of the breakaway new book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, share her own personal experiences with ageism — defined as “treating a person differently on the basis of age" and discusses her work, which explores ageism’s destructive impact on individuals, our communities and our policies.Chronological age is often a key factor in decision-making about treatment for physical and mental health; or selection for housing, employment, or access to other opportunities, says Applewhite. Yet, she argues, age alone is a poor predictor and she pushes back on ageist assumptions that people within any given age group are all the same. They vary substantially in their capacities−and census data show growing diversity in every age group.Nevertheless, unfounded ageist stereotypes result in marginalization and discrimination against older people.This Chair Rocks does not simply identify the problem. It offers a wealth of ideas about how to counteract ageism. As Applewhite explored the subject, she discovered a clear upside: “The possibility that life could be more fun in your eighties had never crossed my mind…nor that such joyful clarity would be rooted in awareness — not denial — that time was short and therefore to be savored.”This talk, given on March 15, 2019, was hosted by Ashby Village and the UC Berkeley Retirement Center, who are committed to transforming aging in community. They hope this talk sparks interest in continuing an intergenerational conversation about collaborative efforts to build a community that works well for all ages.Read a transcript on Berkeley News.
Composer Jimmy López, who earned his Ph.D. in music from UC Berkeley in 2012, speaks about Dreamers, an oratorio he was commissioned by Cal Performances to write that is informed by interviews held with undocumented students at UC Berkeley. The piece was written in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, who created the libretto. Esa-Pekka Salonen, the music director designate of the San Francisco Symphony, conducted the world premiere performance of Dreamers in Zellerbach Hall on Sunday, March 17 at 3 p.m. with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, soprano Ana María Martínez, and a chorus of nearly 80 voices, including those from the UC Berkeley Chamber Choir.López's talk was held in an open session of the academic course Thinking Through Art and Design @ Berkeley: Creativity, Migration, Transformation taught by Peter Glazer and Stan Lai held in Osher Auditorium, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) on Thursday, March 14 at 12 p.m. It was free and open to the public.Read a Q&A with Jimmy López, "Alumnus's 'Dreamers' oratorio inspired by Berkeley undocumented students" on Berkeley News.See events related to upcoming shows by Cal Performances on calperformances.org.Watch the world premiere of Dreamers and read the transcript on Berkeley News.
In his latest book, How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan turns his focus to psychedelics — LSD, psilocybin mushrooms and the like — exploring their history, use, and potential to help people not only transcend, but also treat conditions from addiction to anxiety. On March 5, 2019, Pollan joined Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and founder of the Greater Good Science Center, for a conversation about the book.This talk was recorded by Educational Technology Services. Watch the video and read "A trip of his own: Michael Pollan on writing and the power of psychedelics" on Berkeley Library News. (Photo by Alia Malley)
NIMBYism, geographical limitation and weaponized policies have led California to the biggest housing crisis in state history. Can state-level policies fix a very local problem?  California housing is an undeniable problem. Rents are too high and there is not enough housing for those who need it in the places they want it. But how did we get here? Why has the development of solutions shifted from a city level to a state level?UC Berkeley MPP student Spencer Bowen speaks with Ophelia Basgal and Elizabeth Kneebone from the Terner Center and California Assembly member, David Chiu. Here are five intersecting causes of California’s housing crisis that they help identify:  Limited land and diverse geography  Production not keeping pace with booming job market Housing is expensive to build and new methods are limited Cities wield their power to slow down or vote down projects that they don’t like  Proposition 13 and the California Environmental Quality Act have been weaponized to limit housing production Talk Policy To Me is a podcast built by students at the Goldman School of Public Policy in partnership with the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans.Read more and listen to other Talk Policy to Me episodes on the Goldman School of Public Policy's website.Read the transcript and listen on Berkeley News.
How are individuals and groups racially classified? What are the meanings attached to different racial categories? And what impact do these categories have on a range of policies and practices? Taking the U.S. Census as a site of racial classification, Michael Omi, a professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley, examines the shifting state definitions of race and how individuals and groups assert, embrace, reject and negotiate different racial categories and identities.Michael Omi is co-author, along with Howard Winant, of Racial Formation in the United States (3rd edition, 2015), a groundbreaking work that transformed how we understand the social and historical forces that give race its changing meaning over time and place. At UC Berkeley, Omi serves as the associate director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, is a core faculty member in the Department of Ethnic Studies and is an affiliated faculty member of sociology and gender and women’s studies. Omi is also a recipient of UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award, an honor bestowed on only 240 Berkeley faculty members since its inception in 1959. This lecture, given on Feb. 20, 2019, was part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News.
National analysts have noted the sharply increased number of women running for elective office in 2018, especially among Democrats. In a panel discussion, “Year of the Woman?," Nicole Boucher, co-executive director of the California Donor Table; Mary Hughes, a democratic strategist and founder of Close the Gap California; and Amanda Renteria, chair of Emerge America examines the phenomenon in the California context and whether it's likely to continue in future election cycles. The discussion was moderated by Laurel Rosenhall, a political reporter for Calmatters.This discussion was part of a Feb. 1, 2019 conference, “California Votes: A Post-Mortem on the 2018 Election,” hosted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News.
Dancer/choreographer Akram Khan appeared in the West Coast premiere of XENOS, a Cal Performances co-commission, in Zellerbach Hall on March 2-3, 2019. Khan, who is of British and Bangladeshi descent, is celebrated for physically demanding, visually arresting solo productions that combine Indian kathak with contemporary dance to tell stories through movement. Khan’s full length solo performances of XENOS conjure the despair and alienation suffered by an Indian soldier recruited to fight for the British Crown in the trenches of World War I.As an instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet for world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, singer Kylie Minogue, writer Hanif Kureishi and composer Steve Reich.In this talk, Akram Khan speaks with Cal Performances’ interim artistic director Rob Bailis in the weekly open session of the Arts + Design course Creativity, Migration, Transformation held at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive on Feb. 28, 2019. The event was free and open to the public.More information about the class can be found on Berkeley Arts and Design's website.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News.
Berkeley Law Professor Catherine Fisk, author of Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue (2016), gave a lecture on Feb. 13, 2019, that examines some of the recent radical changes in the law of the workplace in California and nationwide. She discusses how the transformation of work through the gig economy and through the decline of union presents unprecedented challenges for regulating work for the common good, but how it also presents opportunities for a fresh start.This lecture was part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).Catherine Fisk is the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at Berkeley. She teaches and writes on the law of the workplace, on the legal profession, and on free speech and freedom of association. Her most recent book is Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue (2016) and her next book will be on labor protest and labor lawyers in the mid-20th century.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News.
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