2021 Media Watch Archives

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Orange County Register

Just how much hotter and drier is Southern California’s ‘new normal’ weather?

The Orange County Register -
The timing of the hotter, drier conditions is particularly unfortunate for wildfire season. … “Those are perfect conditions for wildfires, definitely,” said Tirtha Banerjee, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine who studies how fires move. … The question needs to be, “How do we live with fire?” Banerjee said. “We cannot afford to lose lives or property, so how do we manage ecosystems better?” [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/news/ocregister] Read More
Natural Gas Intelligence

No ‘Easy Street’ to Create Hydrogen Economy in California

Natural Gas Intelligence -
The University of California, Irvine (UCI) has done extensive hydrogen engineering work in the National Fuel Cell Research Center. UCI’s Jack Brouwer [professor of mechanical engineering] directs the advanced power and energy program and the fuel cell center. UCI and its research engineers are touting their role in helping to meet California’s climate goals and “remain a leader in green technology,” he said. He emphasized that the state needs government, industry, and academia “working together toward a common purpose.” Read More
Science Tech Daily

Nanostructures Enable Record High-Harmonic Generation From Ultra-Intense Laser Pulses

SciTech Daily -
Cornell researchers have developed nanostructures that enable record-breaking conversion of laser pulses into high-harmonic generation, paving the way for new scientific tools for high-resolution imaging and studying physical processes that occur at the scale of an attosecond – one quintillionth of a second. ... The research is detailed in the paper “Generation of Even and Odd High Harmonics in Resonant Metasurfaces Using Single and Multiple Ultra-Intense Laser Pulses,” published on July 7, 2021, in Nature Communications. Maxim Shcherbakov, who conducted the research as a Cornell postdoctoral associate before becoming an assistant professor [of electric engineering and computer science] at the University of California, Irvine, is the lead author. Read More
Yahoo News

EDITORIAL: Environment: Water quality efforts deserve support

Yahoo News (The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.) -
After 15 years of study and some 90 reports, researchers have unearthed solutions to cleaning up the Le Sueur River and its tributaries. For so long, scientific disagreements or political divides made solutions elusive. … The latest study, by the University of Minnesota, University of Kansas and University of California-Irvine, showed the best and most cost effective way to reduce sediment and nitrogen runoff would be wetland restoration. Read More
Orange County Register

Plans to change incentives for rooftop solar draw backlash

The Orange County Register -
The Public Utilities Commission is pursuing changes to California’s solar incentive system largely because of concerns over inequitable bills for non-solar customers. That premise is supported not only by the utilities but by a UC Berkeley study, by the Natural Resources Defense Council, by UC Irvine renewable energy expert Jack Brouwer, and others. … A problem with increasing the rooftop capacity is that most of the excess energy is sent back to the power grid during the middle of the day, when demand for power is lowest according to Brouwer, director of UC Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/news/ocregister] Read More
The Conversation

Insulin was discovered 100 years ago – but it took a lot more than one scientific breakthrough to get a diabetes treatment to patients

The Conversation -
James P. Brody, UCI professor of biomedical engineering writes, “I’m a biomedical engineer, and I teach a course on the history of the treatment of diabetes. With my students, I emphasize the importance of unrelated basic research in the development of medical treatments. The story of insulin illustrates the point that medical innovations build on a foundation of basic science and then require skilled engineers to get a treatment out of the lab and to the people who need it.” Read More
Fast Company

An AI analysis of 800 companies finds that greenwashing is rampant

Fast Company -
Neil Sahota, UCI lecturer, school of engineering writes, “Greenwashing … refers to misleading communication about a company’s environmental practices and impact so as to present an environmentally responsible public image. … But how do we differentiate between greenwashing spin and the true green initiatives when it is incredibly difficult to hold companies accountable for their actions? Thankfully, we have a friend in artificial intelligence.” Read More

Extreme Drought Could Shut Down a Hydroelectric Power Plant In California

VICE - Motherboard -
The possibility that drought would alter the Golden State’s hydropower capacity is not wholly new; in 2018, researchers at the University of California Irvine published a paper predicting that long-term drought would reduce the state’s hydro system’s spinning reserve (its unused, backup energy capacity to be used during periods of high strain) by 41 percent by 2046. The researchers called on grid operators to build additional reservoir capacity to prepare for this eventuality. Read More
Dot. LA

This Student-Run VC Firm Is Funding Big Ideas from SoCal's 'Crescent' of High-Profile Schools

Dot. LA -
California Crescent Fund, a new student-run venture capital firm that exclusively funds student startups based in Southern California, wants to offer young founders the option to turn their ideas into reality while they're still in school. Based in Costa Mesa, Crescent, which refers to the arc of schools curving south from UC Santa Barbara to UC San Diego, is run primarily by six student or recent graduate co-founders — or "managing partners" — and a network of student "university partners" in engineering-heavy schools including UC Irvine, USC, UCLA, UCSD and Claremont College. Read More

No, Facebook and Google Are Not Public Utilities

Wired -
Scott Jordan, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at UC Irvine and former chief technologist at the Federal Communications Commission [said], A search engine that didn’t try to bring the best, most relevant results to the top would be basically worthless. “If you mean nondiscriminatory in a much narrower sense, like does Google’s algorithm include whether the webpage has a conservative or a liberal tint, or is based on anything else—gender, race, what have you—then, yeah, Google might say that they’re nondiscriminatory in these narrower senses. But this doesn’t easily map onto the question of common carriage.” Read More


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