Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for December 2011

TABL Top 10 Stories for 2011

With 2011 nearly at a close, numerous publication are posting their year-end lists, marking the top movies, music, stories, inventions, gaffes, etc. of the last 12 months. Today at Berkeley Lab has decided to join the trend and list its top 10 stories for 2011 (based on pageviews measured by Google Analytics). Note: Nobel Prize story is not included because it was e-mailed to employees and, therefore, not measurable.

1. OASDI Withholding Reduced Starting January 2011

2. Shuttle Bus Accident Update

3. Food Truck Vendors Schedule for Next Week

4. Message From Director on Federal Budget Issues

5. Putting Love Under a Microscope

6. Director Hosts All-Hands Meeting

7. Hats Off to Lab’s Summer Retirees

8. Director Message on Second Campus

9. Lab Experts Discuss Fukushima Crisis

10. UC Retirement Plan Contributions to Increase July 1

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Rising Stars Of Science: The Forbes 30 Under 30

The assignment seemed impossible – even a bit crazy. Find 30 scientists and innovators under age 30 who were worth highlighting in the pages of Forbes. The problem with this, as any graduate student or postdoctoral fellow will eagerly tell you, is that nobody makes it in science by age 30 anymore. I was wrong. This list — which includes Berkeley Lab materials scientist Rizia Bardhan — shows how even in this day and age some researchers manage to make their mark young. Bardhan studies nanotech particles that can diagnose or treat disease and enable new ways of storing energy. More>

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A Single Cell Endoscope

Peidong Yang of the Materials Sciences Division led the development of a nanowire endoscope that can provide high-resolution optical images of the interior of a single living cell, or precisely deliver genes, proteins, therapeutic drugs or other cargo without injuring or damaging the cell. Also contributing to this project were Ruoxue Yan, Ji-Ho Park, Yeonho Choi, Chul-Joon Heo, Seung-Man Yang and Luke Lee. More>

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Visitors Share Impressions of Advanced Light Source

What do people think of the Advanced Light Source the first time they see it? Visitors who toured the facility during the Lab Open House in October share their impressions in this video. A variety of interesting comments were offered, including their thoughts on what they saw, the scientists they met, and the researchers’ passion for tin foil.

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904 Warehouse Closing

The 904 Warehouse will be closing. The Lab is transitioning to a new vendor-managed warehouse storage process. Affected divisions will continue to be able to store equipment for a fee. Division business managers and property representatives were sent a current listing of the storage tags identifying the equipment and custodians in December. In early January, the Facilities warehouse manager will be providing appointment times for the affected division’s to review and reconcile what Lab property will be moving to the new warehouse. Start early evaluating your continued storage needs.

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Comment on Proposed Changes to Bereavement Leave Policy

Berkeley Lab is beginning the formal review and employee-comment period for the proposed Bereavement Leave policy of the Regulations and Procedures Manual (RPM). Berkeley Lab is proposing to increase the usage of bereavement leave from five days to 10 days for each family member. This policy applies to non-represented employees only. Represented employees should contact their union representatives or consult their collective bargaining agreement. Go here to review the proposed Bereavement Leave policy. To comment on this change, contact [email protected] by Feb. 1.

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Comment on Proposed Changes to Sick Leave Policy

Berkeley Lab is beginning the formal review and employee-comment period for the proposed Sick Leave policy of the Regulations and Procedures Manual (RPM). The proposed changes include allowing employees to use up to 30 days of sick leave for parental bonding leave (currently not allowed) and increasing the sick-leave balance reinstatement period for former UC or Lab employees rehired after a break in service of 90 days or less (currently reinstated within 15 days). The policy applies to non-represented employees only. Represented employees should contact their union representatives or consult their collective bargaining agreement. Go here to review the proposed Sick Leave policy. To comment on this change, contact [email protected] by Feb. 1.

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Saving on Energy Bills: Meeting Families in the Middle

A study by researchers in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division identifies steps that energy efficiency program managers can take to deliver significant savings on home energy bills to middle-income households. “Middle-income households have been hit hard by the recent recession, and sagging home prices have undermined the traditional reliance of middle-income households on home equity for financing home improvements,” says EETD’s Mark Zimring. “It is really difficult to motivate them to invest in improving the efficiency of their homes, and to overcome the up-front cost barrier once they’re motivated.” More>

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January Paychecks Will Reflect Increased Payroll Tax

Many faculty and staff have kept an ear tuned to the current debate in Washington D.C. about the “Payroll Tax.” Last year’s Tax Relief Act of 2010 reduced the employee OASDI rate for 2011 from 6.2% to 4.2%. The rate is scheduled to go back to 6.2% starting January 1, 2012. Currently, the debate in Congress pertains to whether to keep the employee share of the OASDI at the 4.2% rate for either a portion of or all of calendar year 2012. As of yesterday, no legislation has passed extending the rate of 4.2%. More>

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New Take on Impacts of Low Dose Radiation

Sylvain Costes and Mina Bissell of the Life Sciences Division led a study in which a special line of human breast cells were used to show that for low-dose levels of ionizing radiation, cancer risks may not be directly proportional to dose. This contradicts the standard model for predicting biological damage from ionizing radiation, which holds that risk is directly proportional to dose at all levels of irradiation. Also working on this study were Teresa Neumaier, Joel Swenson, Christopher Pham, Aris Polyzos, Alvin Lo, PoAn Yang, Jane Dyball, Aroumougame Asaithamby, David Chen and Stefan Thalhammer. More>

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