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Berkeley Science Review - Fall 2003

Berkeley Science Review - Fall 2003

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Published by: The Berkeley Science Review on May 05, 2011
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10/01/2013

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BERKELEY
sciencereview
Fall 2003 Issue 5
 
BERKELEY
sciencereview
E
DITOR
 
IN
C
HIEF
Colin McCormick 
M
ANAGING
E
DITOR
Jessica Palmer
C
OPY
E
DITOR
Kira O’Day
E
DITORS
Carol HunterHeidi LedfordKira O’DayChristopher Weber
A
RT
D
IRECTOR
Una Ren
W
EBMASTER
Tony Le
S
PECIAL
T
HANKS
Keay Davidson
P
RINTER
Sundance Press
©2003 Berkeley Science Review. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without express permission of the publishers. Publishedwith financial assistance from the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research, Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, Physics Department, the UC Berkeley GraduateAssembly, the Associated Students of the University of California, and the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources.
 Berkeley Science Review
is not an official publication of theUniversity of California, Berkeley, or the ASUC. The content in this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the University or ASUC.
Letters to the editor
 
and
story proposals
are encouraged and should be emailed to
submissions@ uclink.berkeley.edu
or posted to
 Berkeley Science Review
, 10 Eshleman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720.
Advertisers
, contact
advertise@ uclink.berkeley.edu
or visit
http:/ / sciencereview.berkeley.edu
.
F
ROM
 
THE
E
DITOR
Dear Readers,Welcome to the fifth issue of the
 Berkeley Science Review
. Like wine and cheese, we just keep gettingbetter with age. We’ve expanded our print run from 5,000 to 6,000 copies. We’ve begun a highschool outreach program, and science students in local high schools will soon be reading the
 BSR
inclass. We’re distributing copies to several area science museums and, as always, across the Berkeleycampus and at the Lawrence Berkeley lab. We have some great stories for this issue, from LettyBrown’s walk through the UC Botanical Garden, to Nathan Bramall’s letter from his physicsresearch in Greenland, to Rupa Datta’s article on new techniques in mathematical genomics.But all good things must come to an end, and my time at the
 BSR
is no exception. I’m writing thisletter from Washington DC, where I just began my tenure as an AAAS Congressional Science Fellow.Although best known for publishing
Science
magazine, AAAS (the American Association for theAdvancement of Science) plays an extremely important role in American science policy. TheirScience Fellows program each year places scientists in congressional offices and federal agencies toprovide technical expertise to legislators and administrators. This is a fascinating opportunity for meto watch law and policy being made, and perhaps to influence its direction just a little. Among otherthings, we’re learning how the federal government spends its $2.3 trillion budget, and where allthat money comes from.…While nobody’s accused me of lacking confidence, I know I wouldn’t have gotten this job withoutthe
 BSR
. My interviewers asked how I would feel about giving science advice in fields outside of physics. In response, I showed them copies of the
 BSR
and explained that I’d been writing andediting for a multidisciplinary popular science journal. They were impressed and I got the job,although I’m sure Una Ren’s great cover designs also helped. I’m not the first person to parlayexperience with the
 BSR
into a job: Eran Karmon won a prestigious AAAS Mass Media fellowship,and Sherry Seethaler is now assistant director of science communications at UC San Diego.If you like what you read here, or even if you don’t, drop us a line at
submissions@ uclink.berkeley.edu
to tell us what you think. You can read all our issues online at
sciencereview.berkeley.edu
, which also hasinformation about how to get involved. We are always interested in new writers, editors, andartists/designers. Not only is the
 BSR
a great way to learn about the exciting science going on atBerkeley, it just might land you somewhere that you never thought you’d be.Cheers,Colin McCormick 
 
Labscope
BERKELEY
science 
4
review
A
paltry 5% of mammalsexhibit male parentalcare. But one species of ladytuco-tucos is in luck, becausetheir mates share the respon-sibility of raising a happy andwell-adjusted brood. Colo-nial tuco-tucos (
Ctenomyssociabilis
) are social subterra-nean rodents native to SouthAmerica. After observingthat up to six females and onemale may share a tunnel sys-tem and single nest, gradu-ate student Maria Soares and Professor Eileen Lacey of the Department of Integrative Biology wondered whether the malewas actually making himself useful. To find out, they observed a captive tuco-tuco colony at Cal, and also tracked thecomings and goings of a free-living colony in Argentine Patagonia by capturing wild tucos and fitting them with radio collars.The researchers discovered that the males do everything for the pups that the females do, except of course for nursing. Theyhuddle with the pups, retrieve them when they try to leave the nest, and bring food into the tunnels. Soares believes that thebenefits of a housebound tuco male may include bigger and healthier pups and a shelter for males to hide from maraudingpredatory birds between breeding seasons. And don’t underestimate the value of a little domestic harmony.
Learn moreabout the social behavior of tuco-tucos and other vertebrates at http://ib.berkeley.edu/labs/lacey/.
Kira O’Day
And he changes diapers
R
obert Full’s laboratory is not for the squeamish. Full, the director of thePoly-PEDAL (Performance, Energetics, and Dynamics of Animal Locomo-tion) laboratory in the Department of Integrative Biology, uses cockroaches tomodel the mechanics of movement. In a recent study, Full equipped roaches withtiny jetpacks that shot them sideways while they ran forward. The roaches werefilmed to determine how they stabilized their bodies and regained the correctdirection. The researchers found that the recovery time following lateral propul-sion was a miniscule 25 milliseconds. Moreover, the cockroaches did not evenslow down, as we would if knocked off balance while running. Instead, they usedtheir springy legs to bounce back on track. Full theorizes that in the invertebratesystem the body can be more important than brains for balance. The Poly-PEDALlab is currently constructing a robot based on the filmed movements of cock-roaches.
Learn more at http://polypedal.berkeley.edu/.
Careening cockroaches
 Adam Schindler 
Photo: Robert FullPhoto: Andrea Caiozzi-Cofre

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