Science & Technology

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Express Wins a National Journalism Award for Science Reporting

by Express Staff
Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 2:50 PM

The Express has won a national award for journalism excellence in science reporting from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The paper won for Azeen Ghorayshi’s May 1 cover story “Warning: Quake in 60 Seconds.” Her in-depth report explored efforts by scientists at UC Berkeley to develop a statewide early warning system for earthquakes.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Hacker Scouts Will Change Name After Legal Threats from Boy Scouts of America

by Sam Levin
Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Hacker Scouts, an Oakland-based nonprofit group dedicated to science and technology education for youth, has decided to change its name after repeated legal threats from the Boy Scouts of America.

"We did not want to dedicate the next year to fighting this. We did not want to slow down," Samantha Cook, executive director and founder of Hacker Scouts, tells the Express. "We're not a name. It's our substance. It's what we do that makes us who we are."

The organization, which now has dozens of programs across the country, posted a note this week announcing that BSA is refusing to compromise — and that the Hacker Scouts board does not want to get involved in a legal battle.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Better Way to Get Answers from the City

by Vanessa Rancaño
Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Anyone who’s tried to use the City of Oakland’s website knows it's something like this clip from 1986's Labyrinth, in which Jennifer Connelly seeks answers from a senile Muppet who speaks entirely in ridiculous platitudes and non sequiturs: The search function is basically useless and information isn’t organized intuitively for layfolk.

Enter Oakland Answers, a new website dedicated to answering citizen’s questions about city services. It’s the latest collaboration between the city and OpenOakland, a team of civic-minded hackers associated with Code for America — the same people who helped launch the city’s open data website.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Must Read: ‘Apple Picking’ Surges on BART; State Lawmakers Introduce a Bevy of Gun Control Laws

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The theft of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing in the Bay Area, particularly on mass transit, including BART, the Chron reports. The number of electronic devices stolen on BART doubled in 2012 compared to the year before. Thieves especially target iPhones and iPads. It’s called “Apple Picking.”

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Patagonian Glaciers Melting in a Hurry

by Staff
Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Ice fields in southern South America are rapidly losing volume and in most cases thinning at even the highest elevations, contributing to sea-level rise at "substantially higher" rates than observed from the 1970s through the 1990s, according to a study published Wednesday. The findings spell trouble for other glaciers worldwide.

The rapid melting, based on satellite observations, suggests the ice field's contribution to global sea-level rise has increased by half since the end of the 20th century, jumping from 0.04 millimeters per year to about .07 mm, and accounting for 2 percent of annual sea-level rise since 1998.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Society Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Climate Change

by Michael E. Mann
Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 6:27 AM

The first scientist to alert Americans to the prospect that human-caused climate change and global warming was already upon us was NASA climatologist James Hansen. In a sweltering Senate hall during the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that "it is time to stop waffling.... The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here." Given the prescience of James Hansen's science, we would be unwise to ignore his latest, more dire warning.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Mother Nature Shows How to Improve Solar Technology

by Marty Mulvihill
Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 7:28 AM

Researchers have improved solar cell performance by looking to leaves. The prototype mimics a leaf's chemical layers that catch the sunlight and send the energy to plant cells. The bio-inspired solar cells were 20 times better at creating electricity than traditionally designed solar cells made from the same materials.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Despite what Romney Says, Green Energy Is the Answer

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

During Mitt Romney’s surprise visit last week to the East Bay, the Republican presidential nominee made it clear that renewable-energy subsidies will be at the center of his campaign. At the shuttered Solyndra solar plant in Fremont, Romney characterized public investment in green energy as an assault on free enterprise and an example of big government excess. The free market, Romney contends, doesn’t need help from Uncle Sam, and Solyndra was the number-one “failure” of President Barack Obama’s first term.

However, as much as Romney and the Republicans want to demonize public subsidies for green energy, the truth is, they still pale in comparison to the taxpayer giveaways for aging, polluting industries like fossil fuels and nuclear power. Indeed, even though Obama’s Energy Department made the wrong bet on Solyndra and it’s expensive solar technology, the amount of taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power and fossil fuels remains astronomically high. Currently, oil and gas companies receive at least $4 billion in direct annual subsidies from the US government — and that figure doesn’t include the hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent in the past two decades on foreign wars whose true intent is to protect our oil supply.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

10 Things That Cost Less Than Facebook's $5 Billion IPO

by Ellen Cushing
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 3:28 PM

As you've probably heard, Facebook filed a $5 billion IPO today — which makes it the biggest public offering in history, and which analysts say will push the company's total value to over $100 billion. Presented without commentary, here's a list of things that cost less than $5 billion:

-119,047,610 Big Macs

-2,666,666.67 of these (extremely ugly*) diamond Tiffany necklaces

  • Hungry????

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Lawrence Livermore National Labratory's Wrongful-Termination Lawsuit Moves Closer to Court

by John Geluardi
Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Five former employees who are suing Lawrence Livermore Laboratory for wrongful termination held a press conference on Thursday to tell their personal stories as their case moves closer to trial set for late next month.

The five former employees talked about the humiliation, shame, and frustration they experienced when they were part of a massive layoff of 440 lab employees, most of whom were over the age of forty, in 2008, shortly after Congress turned over management of the lab to a partnership led by San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp.

130 of the laid-off employees have filed suits against the lab. The first five employees to go to trial are Elaine Andrews, Marian Barraza, Mario Jimenez, Greg Olsen and James Torrice; their trail date is set for Feb. 27. All of the former employees are being represented by the law firm of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer.

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