We’ve all heard about the racial problems at UC San Diego. You may have even seen the protest on Sproul. And recently the UC regents met with chancellors of various campuses and a special adviser to discuss how to take care of the system’s intolerance problems.

It wasn’t just San Diego, by the way, before you start blaming SoCal. According to the article there was also “anti-gay graffiti and swastikas at Davis and disruption by protesters at a talk read more »

First Up…Color-Coding Wikipedia

Who doesn’t use Wikipedia? It can answer pretty much any question that you have. Hell, you can even use it for class, kind of.

But of course, the problem with Wikipedia is that any article can be edited at any time, and sometimes, the information on a Wikipedia page is absolutely wrong.

Enter UC Santa Cruz professor Luca de Alfaro, who has designed a program to track all the changes made on Wikipedia and rank them as credible or not credible. This is done by ranking contributors as credible or not credible.

This would be rather helpful. If Wikipedia chooses to use this technology, at least we’ll know which bits and pieces of an article may actually help us write our paper on international politics.

But for now, we’ve got to sweat away and actually read some books.

UCSD Professor Fighting (Bio)Terror

UC San Diego professor Joseph Vinetz will lead a project looking for ways to fight brucellosis, a disease which may be used in bioterror, according to the press release.

What is brucellosis and why may it be a potential bioterror threat?

there exists the potential threat that a highly infectious form of the disease could be developed in an aerosolized form. In humans, brucellosis can cause a range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headaches, back pains, and physical weakness. Severe infections could result in damage to the central nervous system or lining of the heart, or in chronic symptoms that include recurrent fevers, joint pain, and fatigue.

So the government is afraid that terrorists can use brucellosis in an aerosolized form. Right. But the way most people are infected with brucellosis is through eating dairy products that use unpasteurized milk.

However, as the press release states, Professor Vinetz’s team’s primary function isn’t to find a cure for brucellosis, but to find ways to identify it.

After that happens, then can we find a cure?

Finding Ways to Treat Lou Gehrig’s Disease?

UC Irvine neurologist Tahseen Mozaffar was part of a group of researchers who have been able to “discover the active genes in sporadic ALS

We don’t understand what the news article is saying, but here’s an excerpt and maybe you guys will understand:

The researchers also identified genes likely to play a role in cell function that controls nerve adhesion, offering a major new avenue for ALS research. The findings indicate these genes produce a sort of molecular glue that attaches motor neurons to muscle, according to Dietrich Stephan.

And apparently, this may be able to help researchers eventually find a cure to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“This is a monumental step forward in the effort to find a cure for ALS,” Mozaffar said. “The genetics discovered in this study have uncovered a number of inviting targets for further study toward new drugs to treat this disease. And enthusiastic supporters like Augie Nieto and his wife Lynne are helping make this possible.”

UCSC professor develops fix for faulty Wikipedia info [Sentinel]
UC San Diego Researcher to Lead Fight Against Terrorism on the Medical Front [UCSD Medical Center]
Discovery Of Active Genes Reveals New Clues On ALS [Science Daily]

*First Up … UCLA Assistant Arrested*
If you haven’t heard yet, UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Scott
has been arrested under the suspicion of burglary.

We didn’t know that coaches for a school squished in between Bel Air and Beverly Hills needed to go out and steal things.

Of course, this has started a whole storm of inquiries about whether or not UCLA did a good enough job doing a background check on Scott—whether or not Scott, who has been sentenced for three other crimes according to the LA Times, is guilty or not.

And who did the background checking? UCLA police And it was actually AOL Fanhouse that made this joke:

bq. When they aren’t tasering students, it seems that the UCLA campus police are not brushing up on their background check skills.

Ah yes. The taser incident. We remember that.

*Voting Machines Faulty*
Remember a few weeks ago when we told you about that UC Davis professor trying to see if the voting machines California would use in its next election were hacker-proof?

Well, according Matt Bishop’s findings, they’re not hacker-proof.

That’s riled up the computer companies, of course.

bq. Allowing a team of University of California computer experts unlimited access to the voting systems, along with any needed passwords, source code and manuals “is not a real world scenario,” said Steven Bennett, a spokesman for Sequoia Voting Systems, whose equipment is used in Alameda, Napa and Santa Clara counties.

Yes, it’s not a real world scenario because hackers are dumber than professors. Shouldn’t we have the right to know even the smallest little kink in our voting machines?

*Obesity Gets Its Day in Research*
We have two stories to tell you about.

First, UC San Diego researchers say that obesity may be socially contagious. According to the study, the chance’s of becoming obese go up to 57 percent if one of your friends is obese, 40 percent if a sibling is obese and 37 percent if your spouse is obese.

bq. “We were stunned to find that friends who are hundreds of miles away have just as much impact on a person’s weight status as friends who are right next door,” said co-author James Fowler of the UC San Diego.

UC Merced will get its hands dirty with this obesity thing. For the next 10 years, UC Merced researcher Rudy Ortiz will inspect what makes kids in the Central Valley obese.

First, it’s great that the newest UC school in the system gets to do some sort of research. Second, there are people living in the Central Valley? We just thought it was void of any form of life other than in Fresno and in Merced.

Image Source: Salgu Wissmath, Daily Cal
Bruins football assistant arrested [ LA Times ]
Voting Machine Companies Attack Review [Forbes]
Makers of voting machines battle critics over UC study [SF Gate]
UC San Diego researchers find obesity can spread in social circles [North County Times]
UC Merced study eyes obese kids [Modesto Bee]